Texans RB Slaton out for season after seeing specialist about neck

HOUSTON -- Texans running back Steve Slaton is done for the season after being placed on injured reserve Wednesday because of a nerve issue in his neck.

Slaton, who ran for 1,282 yards as a rookie last season, had a fumbling problem this year, and the Texans recently revealed that the injury on the running back's right side was more serious than they initially believed. Slaton saw a specialist Tuesday.

Second opinion does it

The Texans' decision to place Steve Slaton on injured reserve was made after the running back went to Dallas to receive a second opinion on his neck injury, Jason La Canfora reports. **More ...**

Texans coach Gary Kubiak said the specialist believes the problem will heal on its own in 4 to 6 weeks, but surgery could be an option. Kubiak said Slaton will be ready next season in any event.

"This is not career threatening," Kubiak said. "Steve's going to be fine. He will play and play well. Everything is going to be OK. They just said that right now he doesn't need to be taking any hits over the course of the next month.

Slaton, who wasn't made available to the media Wednesday, has 437 rushing yards and three touchdowns this season. The Texans now will rely on Chris Brown and Ryan Moats at running back, starting with Sunday's home game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Moats had 23 carries for 126 yards and three touchdowns in the Texans' 31-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 1 after Slaton was benched following a fumble. It was the last win for the Texans, who have dropped four in a row.

"I'm ready to go, preparing myself to be successful," Moats said. "Any time you lose anybody, it's tough. I wish Steve the best and I'm always there for him."

Brown likely will start Sunday, but Moats should see action as well. The Texans are hoping to find some way to jump start a running game that is tied for 29th in the NFL with 88.7 yards per game.

"We're going to go out and just run, try to make it simple," Moats said. "Try not to complicate things and just run the ball when your number is called and block when it's time to block."

Houston could also receive help from Arian Foster, a rookie who has appeared in two games on special teams, and Chris Henry, who will be elevated from the practice squad to take Slaton's roster spot.

"He's thinking long term and he wants to help himself as much as he can," Henry said of Slaton. "It's unfortunate, but I think in the end other people will benefit and everybody will pick up the pieces."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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