Houston Texans rookie receiver Tank Dell exited the game against the Denver Broncos with an ankle injury on Sunday at NRG Stadium and did not return to the field. "It really hurt us losing Tank," Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said.
"Tank has been very valuable to our team, he's provided a spark to our team each and every week he's out on the field. Everybody's just waiting for that moment. You know it's going to happen when he shows up and he makes an explosive play for us or he's scoring a touchdown. To lose Tank with the leg injury, it hurts our team because of what he means to our team not only on the field but also off the field.
"Tank always has a huge smile on his face and is always full of energy. It just really hurts losing Tank."
Through 10 career games, Dell has 47 receptions for 709 yards and seven touchdowns for the Texans.With 3:49 remaining in the first quarter, the Texans called a run play from the three yard line. Dameon Pierce ran it in from three yards out. In the scrum at the goal line, Dell was injured. As the players cleared, Dell was still on the ground in considerable pain.
Texans athletic training staff immediately tended to Dell as his teammates circled up at the five yard line and prayed. Dell was eventually loaded onto a cart and prepped to take off the field. Before the cart started rolling, the entire Texans team came over and patted Dell on the shoulder pads, hugged him, shared a word or shook his hand.
Dell was carted off and was listed as questionable to return to the game with an ankle injury but at the start of the third quarter was ruled out for the remainder of the game. He did not record a single catch in the 22-17 victory over the Broncos.
"It hurt bad," Texans receiver Nico Collins said about Dell's injury. "You don't want to see anybody get hurt. You see the hard work he put in every single day. To come out like that, it hurt. Just hate to see one of my brothers go down like that. So, he will be missed."
Through 10 career games, Dell has 47 receptions for 709 yards and seven touchdowns for the Texans. Dell and fellow rookie C.J. Stroud had combined for a few rookie records over the past few weeks as the duo has been one of the most dynamic ones in the NFL.
When Stroud took to the podium postgame and was asked about Dell, he paused for a moment. He was at a loss for words. He stood in silence as he gathered words about not only a teammate and fellow rookie but also a friend he saw go down on Sunday. "You see your brother put in so much work and be so helpful," Stroud eventually said.
"One thing about Tank is he is very unselfish. And to see him go out like … the game of football is tough man. We fight our tails off every day to make people happy, we put our bodies on the line time and time again. To see that happen, it's cold. It's not easy. I have to be there for him. "Just try to be positive about it but it's tough. I'm hurt. I can't sugarcoat it. I love him to death, I told him that."