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Daniels out for season with torn ACL


Tight end Owen Daniels' once-promising season is over. Texans coach Gary Kubiak announced during his press conference today that Daniels has a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He will undergo season-ending surgery in about two weeks once the swelling in his right knee has reduced.

Rookie tight end James Casey had arthroscopic surgery on Monday morning to repair meniscus damage in his knee. That leaves the Texans with two tight ends, Joel Dreessen and rookie Anthony Hill, for this week's game at Indianapolis. Dreessen will start.

Daniels suffered his injury while running a route early in the first quarter at Buffalo. Coming off of his first Pro Bowl season, he led all NFL tight ends in receiving yards (497) and ranked second in receptions (39) and touchdowns (5) entering Sunday's game.

"It's a big blow to our football team, and I just feel bad for him," Kubiak said. "Boy, he was having a tremendous season, a special season, and we're going to miss him big-time. But he'll get well. He'll be back. He's a worker, and he'll be back better than ever."

Kubiak is hopeful that Casey, a fifth-round draft pick out of Rice, can return in three weeks. The Texans will be coming off of a bye week to face the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football Nov. 23.

Casey made the first two catches of his career on Sunday and tackled Bills receiver Justin Jenkins for a three-yard loss on a fake punt in the fourth quarter.

"He played 42 plays in the game, and he was hurting," Kubiak said. "He made a couple of big plays for us in the game. (It was) very impressive for him not to come off that field yesterday. He gave it up for his teammates. That makes me feel better about getting him back in three weeks; how he was able to do that yesterday just tells me his physical toughness."

{QUOTE}With Daniels' injury, Dreessen will become a starter for the first time in his four-year career. He has played in all eight games this season and has five catches for 52 yards.

Dreessen will continue his duties as the Texans' long snapper, but Kubiak said that the team will reduce his snaps on other special teams plays. He was in for close to 80 plays against the Bills on Sunday, including 52 on offense.

"He does a little bit of everything," Kubiak said. "He can do a little bit of both as a tight end, on the line of scrimmage, as a receiver. (It's a) big opportunity for him in his career. We've got to use him the right way, and he's got to step up."

Hill, a blocking specialist, will be the Texans' second tight end this week. A fourth-round draft pick out of North Carolina State, he has been inactive for all but one game this season.

"He's a very young player, and obviously, we haven't had the luxury of suiting four guys," Kubiak said. "We have been impressed with his work. He's a physical player. Is he ready to go? I don't know; we'll see. But it's time for him to go... That's what we drafted him for."

The Texans will have to adjust their offensive game plan this week since they won't be able to use any three tight-end sets. They were able to put up 31 points against the struggling Bills with Daniels on the sideline.

Kubiak said that the Texans will consider adding another tight end to the roster.

"It's obviously an option," he said. "It's something we're looking at right now. I think the most important thing is getting ready to play this game, what gives us the best chance to go to Indy this week and be successful. So whether that means bringing in another guy or bringing up a guy, however we go about that, I think we're week-to-week right now."

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