The Houston Texans lost a major player this week to injury. Jerome Mathis (5-11, 172) has a fractured venicular bone, a very small bone in the top of the foot, in his left foot. Some reports are calling the injury a stress fracture.
Mathis will undergo surgery today in Houston to repair the fracture, but will likely miss up to 5 games of the regular season. Mathis is a major part of the Texans special teams program, and made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season last year as a kick returner.
Mathis finished second in the NFL with an amazing average of 28.6 yards per return. During the 2004 season Mathis returned a total of 54 kickoffs for 1,542 yards and 2 touchdowns, as well as 12 punts for 68 yards. He also caught five passes for 63 yards and a touchdown.
"Since Jerome has come back from the Pro Bowl, he has struggled with his ankle," Kubiak said in an article released by the Texans. "We took some time off, rehabbed it, did everything we could, it was making progress. Jerome had an accident along the way, but he came out to practice. It continued to bother him and we took an extensive look at it last week and unfortunately we found out what it was, a stress fracture."
The article also says that the Texans have been running WR Jake Schifino and rookie RB Wali Lundi in the return positions, but it will still be a huge loss for the Texans.
According to the team's orthopedist Tom Clanton, Mathis will have to stay off his foot for the next eight weeks. However, he also remarked that if the foot is responding well then it may be sooner than that. Even so, with Mathis staying off his foot for that amount of time, there will need to be several weeks of rehab following his recovery from surgery.
Mathis has been experiencing pain in his left foot since the Pro Bowl in February. Since then he has also been involved in a motorcycle accident where he injured his hands. Due to that accident his missed several of the voluntary official team activities the Texans have been holding. The Texans' head athletic trainer, Kevin Batin, says that based on examinations the injury is more likely to have occurred during the Pro Bowl rather than Mathis' motorcycle accident.
This is just one of a few other injuries that have affected the Texans. Defensive tackle Travis Johnson became afflicted with a strained right calf during Wednesday's practice, but he was still able to put weight on it. The extent of the injury has not been reported by the Texans as of this time. Johnson was the number one pick by the Texans during the 2005 draft.