Zac Diles has played a huge role on the Texans' defense this year.
Coach Gary Kubiak announced Wednesday that starting strongside linebacker Zac Diles, who leads the Texans with 66 tackles this year, broke his left tibia in practice today.
The injury occurred when Diles kicked himself accidentally while running in a half-speed special teams drill. He was taken to a hospital where he is being evaluated.
"He'll be gone for the year," Kubiak said. "He's going to have to have a rod inserted. They're going to try to get that done tonight. We lost a kid that was becoming a great player. It's difficult on the football team to watch that today. We just wish him the best."
There was a loud 'snap' sound before Diles fell to the ground.
"We all heard it," Kubiak said. "It was obvious that something bad had happened when he hit the ground."
As a result, veteran linebacker Kevin Bentley will start against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday at Reliant Stadium. Also, rookie Xavier Adibi will get increased reps this week. The fourth-round draft pick from Virginia Tech has been inactive for most of this season.
"Through adversity comes opportunity," Kubiak said. "So there's an opportunity for Kevin and an opportunity for Xavier. It's time for him to play, too."
Diles, a 2007 seventh-round draft pick from Kansas State, has been a pleasant surprise for the Texans this year. In addition to leading the team in stops, he has collected a sack and an interception.
"He's as good a player as we've got on defense, in the last month especially," Kubiak said. "He's been playing extremely well. Hadn't been a week go by probably that I haven't talked about him. He was becoming a heck of a player, so it's tough. But the biggest disappointment is for the kid. When you're making that much progress and playing that well, to see that happen is just disappointing."