The enthusiasm surrounding the Texans' 7-3 start took a big hit on Monday.
Quarterback Matt Schaub has a "significant foot injury" and will miss at least the Week 12 game at Jacksonville, coach Gary Kubiak announced. Backup Matt Leinart will start against the Jaguars on Nov. 27 after the Texans' bye week.
"He's going to miss some time, but we're going to do everything we can to get it evaluated correctly and see if we can get him back on the football field," Kubiak said. "It's disappointing, but we'll go to work and try to do the right thing by Matt."
Amid speculation that Schaub could be out for the season with a broken foot, Kubiak said the injury was still being evaluated.
"It was described to me as a significant injury that they're trying to evaluate," Kubiak said. "I know it's been reported a couple places exactly what's going on, but as of right now, they haven't given me any conclusions. They're just trying to give me their opinions on what we should do and how we should handle it as of today."
Kubiak said Schaub will be in a walking boot this week and will begin visiting specialists in Charlotte and elsewhere next Monday or Tuesday.
Schaub was injured on a quarterback sneak late in the second quarter, when the Texans were backed up in second-and-14 from their own one-yard line. He played until being replaced by Leinart midway through the fourth quarter.
"Somebody fell on the back of his foot, and his foot got caught in the pile," Kubiak said. "He played the rest of the game. He was sore. We asked him; he said 'I'm fine' and they taped it up at halftime and he played. He was complaining about it in the fourth quarter. We took him out of the game. After the game, the doctor still felt like he was going to be fine, so this all took place here today."
Leinart, 28, last started on Nov. 29, 2009, with the Arizona Cardinals. The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner at USC went 7-10 as a starter in Arizona after being drafted 10th overall in 2006. He has yet to throw a pass in his two seasons in Houston.
"I see a hungry guy," Kubiak said. "Here's a guy who's had the highs in football and then he's had some lows. He wants to go back and prove that he belongs and can be successful in this league. I really liked the way our guys reacted to him last year when I had him, when he stepped in the huddle, the way he would lead the group running the scout team on a daily basis. This game's about leadership... I know our guys believe in him."
Leinart had a 70.8 passer rating in four seasons with the Cardinals. He completed 57.1 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. After starting as a rookie, he was injured in his second season, supplanted by Kurt Warner in his third season and cut by the Cardinals just before last season.
The Texans signed Leinart to a one-year deal in 2010, then re-signed him this offseason after the lockout.
"He liked his opportunity here," Kubiak said. "He liked this football team. He liked what we do offensively. You never know how an opportunity's going to occur, but here we go, and it's a big one for him in his career."
Leinart had been getting more work with the first-team offense in practice over the last month as Schaub dealt with several minor injuries.
"He's been getting a ton of reps," Kubiak said. "He's played in big football games in this league. He's played a lot of football. He played in big football games in college. So Matt's been around it, but the key is the whole football team rallying around him and playing well as a football team.
"Matt doesn't have to go win a game. The team has to go win a game. We'll rally around him and get him ready to go."