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Early Tuesday morning, reports out of Houston’s training camp were that Arian Foster looked good. By Tuesday afternoon, however, ominous news leaked out.

“Groin injury…” “Significant injury…” “Could require surgery…” “Injured Reserve/Designated to Return…”

By Wednesday, the reports seemed to be confirmed. Foster had a serious groin injury that appears to need surgery.

As of this writing (Wednesday evening), the reports are that he is headed for a second opinion, but he will likely undergo surgery on Monday.

The details don’t matter much to Fantasy owners at this point. The reality is Arian Foster will be out for a large part of the season. If he is placed on the I.R./Designated to Return, he will miss the first eight games of the season. In addition, there is no guarantee that he will be able to return and play after those eight games.

Hernia surgery is tough, and Foster isn’t known to be a quick healer. He’s had plenty of soft-tissue injuries over the course of his career, much to the frustration of Fantasy owners. At this point, if you’ve already drafted, you’re hanging on to him (especially if you have an I.R. spot on your bench). However, if you have yet to draft, he’s likely only worth a late-round flyer (in re-draft leagues).

The biggest question is: who will take over for Foster? The simple answer is no one. No running back on the Houston Texans can fill his shoes. Who will try? It will likely be a combination of Chris Polk, Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes. The Texans did not sign Pierre Thomas, so either they are confident with what they have, or they don’t want to trust in Thomas.

As for the three backs that remain, the Texans really seem to like Polk. Polk is a 25-year-old back who was just signed to a one-year contract in April. He’s had injuries as well, and hasn’t really played much in the NFL. He has 57 total rushes for 270 yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons in Philadelphia. He doesn’t really appear to be an every-down back, but it looks to be a rotation in Houston at running back. Polk should get the goal-line work.

Alfred Blue has been Foster’s backup, and got his chance to play last season when Foster was out. He wasn’t spectacular, amassing 528 yards and two touchdowns. He did add 15 receptions for 113 yards and a receiving touchdown, however. Blue will likely get the most carries, but he’s barely an RB3 until the Texans backfield shakes out a bit more.

Rounding up the running back committee is Jonathan Grimes. He, like Polk, hasn’t played a lot in the NFL, but will likely be given an opportunity this year. He’s worth a flyer in deep leagues, just because this situation is very murky right now.

As for any benefit or detriment to the other players, quarterback Brian Hoyer now will be forced to throw the ball more. This could benefit his receivers, except that asking Hoyer to throw more isn’t going to help the team. Houston was looking for a run-based attack to go through Foster, and now that game plan will have to be changed. At this point, watching the pre-season games will be very telling for the Texans.


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