NASHVILLE – Texans free safety Danieal Manning suffered a potentially season-ending leg injury in the second quarter on Sunday at Tennessee. He told SportsRadio 610 AM after the game that he has a fractured tibia.
Manning was injured while making a leaping interception in the second quarter. He was on crutches on the sideline in the second half, but he's optimistic that he'll be able to return at some point this season.
"My gut feeling is that I'll be back," Manning said to SR610's Rich Lord. "I feel like I heal pretty well. I haven't had any major injuries thus far, and I don't consider this being a major injury right now. All I'm hearing is positive, so the worst it may be – I guess, I don't know – it may be 4-6 weeks.
"I don't know. I really don't know. We haven't looked at it (enough). That's what I'm hearing. I heard about these injuries before, and guys usually come back around that time. But I don't know. Each case is different."
Manning had X-rays done on Sunday but said doctors didn't get a chance to evaluate his injury enough because his leg was swollen.
"We're evaluating it right now," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after the game. "Obviously, there's a problem. We're going to have to make some decision in the next day or so. There is a chance, though, that he could still be back. There's still a chance that he could be back this year."
Manning was a major part of the Texans' offseason effort to upgrade their defense. He signed as a free agent from the Chicago Bears on the first day of free agency along with cornerback Johnathan Joseph. His interception on Sunday was his second of the season. He also returned kickoffs in the Texans' first six games.
"They're just telling me we're going to look at some more X-rays and more MRIs make sure it's not that much damage," Manning said. "I didn't even get to see the X-ray, but they told me that I had a little crack in it. So I don't know how long I'm going to be out, really. I have a few options how to heal it if I'm trying to come back as soon as possible or what. I don't really know."
If Manning misses any time, backup free safety Troy Nolan and rookie safety Shiloh Keo would move up the depth chart. They both played extensively on Sunday, with starting strong safety Glover Quin manning the slot in nickel and dime packages.
"Guys are playing well," Manning said. "Again, it's giving the other guys an opportunity to step up. I'm definitely going to miss being there, and missing any time, I don't want to do that, because each game going in is important. We've got another divisional game, we're playing at home against Jacksonville (in Week 8), and I don't want to miss that, either."
The Texans already lost Pro Bowl outside linebacker Mario Williams to a season-ending pectoral injury in Week 5. All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury.