The Texans placed defensive end Mario Williams, right guard Mike Brisiel and wide receiver David Anderson on injured reserve on Wednesday, ending their respective seasons with three games remaining.
Williams, who leads the Texans with 8.5 sacks, had been bothered by a sports hernia for the last two months. He played only 25-30 snaps on Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens and will have surgery on Tuesday in Philadelphia, according to Texans coach Gary Kubiak.
"We've got to do what's best for Mario," Kubiak said. "I'd love for him to be able to hang in there and give us 20-25 plays a game the rest of the way, but it just wasn't getting better. It was getting worse, and the last two weeks have been the worst. The doctors just feel like he needs to go get this fixed right away."
A two-time Pro Bowler, Williams has not missed a game due to injury in his five-year career, including when he played through plantar fasciitis as a rookie. His streak of 77 consecutive starts is tops among NFL defensive ends.
"It's been a tough, tough road for him," Kubiak said. "We were trying to work him in practice a certain way that we could get him through gameday, but I knew when we came out of Philadelphia that this thing had hit a boiling point, so to speak. The kid was really down and couldn't go. We had a big break between that game and this last one and he tried for everybody, but it just wasn't working out. So we'll get him well. Obviously, Mario has got a tremendous future and is a big part of this organization."
With Williams out, Kubiak said that second-year defensive end Tim Jamison is "about to play a great deal." Antoine Caldwell will step into the starting lineup for Brisiel, who injured his right calf against the Ravens. Brisiel started nine games this season.
Anderson injured his left shoulder on Monday while attempting to make a leaping catch in the fourth quarter. He finishes the season with 11 catches for 117 yards. His departure creates an immediate opportunity for rookie wide receiver Dorin Dickerson, a seventh-round pick out of Pittsburgh who has played sparingly.
With roster spots to fill, the Texans signed defensive tackle DeMario Pressley from the New Orleans Saints' practice squad and wide receiver Derrick Townsel from their own practice squad.
Pressley was a fifth-round draft pick in 2008 from North Carolina State. He played in nine games for the Saints last season. Townsel is an undrafted rookie from Murray State who has kick return ability.
"Townsel deserves the right to be on the active (roster)," Kubiak said. "When kids work for you all season like that, to get rewarded at the end, to get on the active roster, I know the team is excited for him."
The Texans also signed center Brett Helms and wide receiver Montez Billings to their practice squad. Rookie defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard left the Texans' practice squad earlier this week to sign with the Tennessee Titans.