Wide receiver Will Fuller, the team's 2016 first-round pick, broke his collarbone during practice, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. ESPN first reported the development.
The 23-year-old had just 47 catches on 92 targets last year but serves an important function in Bill O'Brien's offensive scheme. The definition of a "burner," Fuller was drafted in large part to take the top off opposing defenses, allowing for star wideout DeAndre Hopkins to pick apart the secondary on medium-range throws.
Now, Fuller's main function will be rehab and recovery. With the severity of the break unknown, the date for Fuller's eventual return is up in the air. Strengthening the healed area is just as important as letting it heal, with many football players trying to prevent a second break. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo famously broke his collarbone twice in a season back in 2015.
Developing a suitable second threat for Hopkins has been one of O'Brien's major challenges since arriving in Houston. Losing Fuller for a spell won't help the process.