Texans linebacker Mario Williams will have surgery on Friday to repair his season-ending left pectoral injury.
Coach Gary Kubiak said Thursday that the estimated recovery time from the surgery is three-and-a-half to four months. Williams was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday.
"It's kind of sad," Kubiak said. "Boy, he was playing so well. I've said this before, but I know it's killing him because he was just so excited about what he was doing and what we were doing as a defensive football team. But Mario's going to have a great career. He's going to be fine… but it's been very difficult on him. Mario's always been a team guy, been a class act."
Williams had a team-high five sacks, tied for the AFC lead, in his first five games under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. He was injured on Sunday in the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders while sacking quarterback Jason Campbell.
The two-time Pro Bowler has remained involved with the team this week by attending practice as a spectator, including joining his teammates on the field in the post-practice huddle on Thursday.
"It means a lot, and I told him that, too," Kubiak said. "It means a lot for the guys for him to be around, and he needs to continue to grow in Wade's defense even though he's out. He needs to study every week like he was playing so when Mario does come back, his growth is still taking place from a mental standpoint."
Williams played through multiple injuries in the first five seasons of his career, starting 75 consecutive games. The only games he has missed to date were the final three of last season, after he was placed on injured reserve with a sports hernia injury.
Kubiak expects to see Williams back on the sidelines at practice shortly after his surgery.
"Mario's a heck of a worker," Kubiak said. "I'm sure he'll be out here, hopefully within a week or two, to be out here and be a part of it."