Report: Lamar Miller's ACL Tear Confirmed; Texans RB Out for Season with Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2019

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 24:  Lamar Miller #26 of the Houston Texans leaves the game after an injury in the first quarter during a NFL preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller suffered a torn ACL and will miss the 2019 NFL season, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday.

Schefter initially reported Saturday the Texans believed Miller tore his ACL during their 34-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and an MRI confirmed the extent of his injury.

Miller was the Texans' leading rusher (973 yards) en route to his first Pro Bowl in 2018.

With him unavailable, the spotlight turns to Duke Johnson Jr., whom Houston acquired from the Cleveland Browns in return for a 2020 fourth-round draft pick that can become a third-rounder, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

John McClain @McClain_on_NFL

Duke Johnson, who wanted more playing time in Cleveland, will be the Texans' starting RB. He's going to get all the playing time he can handle.

Adam Levitan @adamlevitan

Not sure why it's assumed Duke Johnson can't handle a featured role. * 210 pounds * Averaged 18.4 carries over final two NCAA seasons * HOU gave a 3rd-rd pick for him * Never missed an NFL game in four seasons

Johnson got crowded out of the Browns' backfield following the emergence of Nick Chubb and arrival of Kareem Hunt, who is suspended for the first eight games of the regular season.

The 25-year-old has shown promise in a limited role, though. In four seasons, he has 1,286 rushing yards on 4.3 yards per carry and five touchdowns. He has also caught 235 passes for 2,170 yards and eight touchdowns.

Even before Miller's injury, the Texans likely viewed Johnson as a key contributor on the ground and in the passing game. Now, he'll get the chance to prove he can be an every-down back in the NFL.

The bigger question is whom Houston will tab as the backup. 

Undrafted free agents Karan Higdon (28 carries, 78 yards) and Damarea Crockett (17 carries, 83 yards and one touchdown) have gotten the most touches during the preseason. Houston's preseason finale Thursday against the Los Angeles Rams could shed some light on the team's backfield hierarchy.