Whitney Mercilus Injury: Texans LB Ruled Out for Week 15 vs. Jaguars

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2016

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Whitney Mercilus #59 of the Houston Texans pumps up the crowd while playing against the Chicago Bears in the first quarter at NRG Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

The Houston Texans reportedly ruled linebacker Whitney Mercilus out for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars as a result of a back injury, according to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson.

Continue for updates.

Mercilus Set to Miss 2nd Game in NFL Career

Saturday, Dec. 17

Wilson reported Thursday that Mercilus was suffering from back problems but looked on track to play Sunday. Instead, he'll be out for only the second time in his five years with the Texans.

The injury comes in the middle of what has been a strong 2016 season for the 26-year-old. He has 48 combined tackles, and his 5.5 sacks are best on the Texans.

Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson listed Mercilus as one of three outside linebackers named to the site's Pro Bowl team: "Melvin Ingram and [Mercilus] have each finally begun to realize the potential that made them each former first-round draft choices, and have been fine pass-rushers this season in their own right."

Mercilus' absence couldn't come at a much worse time for Houston. The team is tied with the Tennessee Titans for the lead in the AFC South, and any defeat over the next three weeks could have a significant impact on its postseason chances.

Although the Jaguars have lost their last eight games, quarterback Blake Bortles will have an easier time in the pocket without Mercilus rushing him off the edge, especially since the Texans don't have a ready-made replacement for Mercilus at outside linebacker.

Should Bortles have a big day through the air, Jacksonville could spring the upset.