In a pivotal 22-17 victory over the Denver Broncos, the Houston Texans celebrated a crucial win on Sunday, marking a significant moment in their 2023 season. However, the triumph came at a hefty cost as wide receiver Tank Dell endured a season-ending fibula fracture during the game.
Dell sustained the injury while blocking on a touchdown play executed by running back Dameon Pierce. As Pierce charged into the end zone, Dell’s leg became entangled in a mass of falling offensive and defensive linemen. The wide receiver was subsequently carted off the field and did not return to the match.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud, visibly emotional in the aftermath, addressed Dell’s injury during the postgame press conference. The duo of 2023 rookies had emerged as one of the NFL’s most dynamic partnerships in the first 11 games of the season. Stroud expressed more than just the loss of on-field productivity, emphasizing the personal connection he shared with Dell.
“Tank is very unselfish. To see him go out, the NFL’s tough, dude, it’s tough,” Stroud stated. “To see that happen, it’s cold. I gotta be there for him. More so than anything, like, forget football, Tank as a person, I know it’s going to be tough for him.”
Attempting to inject a positive note into his remarks, Stroud mentioned the possibility of Dell returning to play in the Super Bowl. However, his disappointment was evident. “Trying to be positive about it, but it’s tough. I’m hurting, I can’t sugar coat it.”
Despite Dell’s absence, Stroud and the Texans’ offense compiled 274 passing yards and two touchdowns, with Nico Collins stepping up with nine receptions for 190 yards. Coupled with a strong defensive effort, the Texans are now in a favorable position as a potential playoff team entering the season’s final month. While losing Dell is a significant setback, it may not be a definitive blow to Houston’s postseason aspirations.
Sunday’s injury is a somber note for both Texans fans and football enthusiasts at large, as Dell has been recognized as one of the NFL’s most exciting young wide receivers. His absence will undoubtedly be felt beyond the boundaries of Houston.
Looking ahead, Stroud and the Texans aim to bolster their playoff hopes in the upcoming matchup against the New York Jets in Week 14 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., scheduled for Noon CT.