Texans rookie Will Anderson Jr. wears walking boot, after a high-ankle sprain against Jets

According to league sources, Texans rookie standout defensive end Will Anderson Jr. suffered a high-ankle sprain in the fourth quarter against the New York Jets.

Anderson has been wearing a walking boot this week and has not been practicing. According to reports, Anderson is not expected to play against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, and it’s uncertain when he’ll be able to resume football activities.

The infamous artificial turf at MetLife Stadium, which injured several other Texans players on Sunday, including quarterback C.J. Stroud (concussion), linebacker Blake Cashman (hamstring), cornerback Tavierre Thomas (hamstring), and wide receiver Nico Collins (calf), is thought to have played a role in Anderson’s injury.

Anderson, who was drafted third overall out of Alabama, has not missed a game this season. He has 42 tackles, five sacks, eight tackles for loss, and 19 quarterback hits to his credit. He has 27 pressures on him.

Texans rookie Will Anderson Jr. wears walking boot, after a high-ankle sprain against Jets

Against the Denver Broncos, the former Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Lombardi award winner, and Bronko Nagurski award winner had two sacks, five tackles, four quarterback hits, two tackles for losses, and one pass defense with seven quarterback pressures.

He and Khalil Mack are the only players in NFL history to have at least two sacks, two tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, and one pass defensed in a single game. Anderson also joined J.J. Watt and Jaelan Phillips as the only two rookies with that record since 1933.

“For Will, I’m proud of what he’s done all year,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said. “It’s not just about this one game; Will has been doing this all year.” I believe he’s getting more attention now because of his numbers or sacks, but that’s who he’s been all year, and that’s what I’m most pleased with. He’s been reliable.

“He’s been wreaking havoc all year, and a lot of people don’t give him the credit he deserves, but you’re talking about a guy who’s relentless, a guy who shows up every week and brings it.” Opposing offenses understand that they must work together to stop Will Anderson, and that’s what he offers every week, so I’m really proud of him.”

Anderson credited his development as a pass rusher to his teammates and the coaching staff, which included Ryans, defensive coordinator Matt Burke, and defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire.

“I’ve just got to give a big shout-out to them because it’s been a relentless grind this whole season, up and down, up and down, and just kind of finding that momentum of just getting better at rushing,” he added. “I think learning pass rush, learning how to take different angles, and everything has been the most exciting thing for me, so I have to give them a lot of credit for that.”

Sheldon Rankins, a veteran defensive lineman, has seen Anderson steadily progress since he was taken in the first round.

Texans rookie Will Anderson Jr. wears walking boot, after a high-ankle sprain against Jets

“Will’s my guy,” Rankins explained. “There you have my rook.” I’ve been trapped in with him since I arrived. He’s the type of man who does everything at breakneck speed. He works so hard and is eager to see the results of his efforts. I know he’s been disappointed this year. The sacks haven’t always come, but I’ve always told him that’s simply how the league operates.

“They’ll show up. You just keep going through your process, believing in your own strengths and the way you work, and don’t shy away from the situations, and you’ll have your chances to truly make an impression as a rusher. You saw the stats come together today, but it’s something he’s been doing all year.”

After selecting rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud second overall, the Texans traded with the Cardinals to select Anderson third overall. The Texans traded their 12th and 33rd overall picks, as well as their own first- and third-round picks in 2024, for the Cardinals’ 105th overall pick.

And Anderson, who inked a four-year, $35.212 million contract with the Texans that includes a fifth-year club option and a $22.609 million signing bonus, has left the team with no regrets. He’s been exactly as advertised.

“It just goes back to coach putting us in those situations in practice,” he said. “I think we had a really good practice week.” Everyone was tuned in, dialed in, and all he talked about was unrestrained strength.

“Everyone just goes out there, reach deep into your gut, and leave it all on the field.” I think the defense did a fantastic job with that. “I’m so proud of those guys.”

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