If you're reading this post then it probably means you're among the Houstonians whose emotional well being is just a little too tied to the fate of your sports teams. It's OK, you're far from alone. In the fourth largest city in the country, with professional and collegiate teams that are performing at nearly peak level, there are hundreds of thousands of folks who care a little too much. I'm one of them; it's fine.
To that end, injuries matter. One small misstep by the wrong player, and — POOF! — the season goes up in smoke. Hell, you could argue that there are certain sports injuries where many Houstonians would easily sacrifice a body part of their own to ensure health for the most key players on their favorite teams, as crazy as that sounds.
With all of that said, here are the recently injured body parts that are most inextricably linked to the overall happiness of Houston sports fans:
CHRIS PAUL, Rockets PG (balky hamstring)
Much the same way that Texan fans say a small prayer that he will get up every time Deshaun Watson gets hit, so it is every time Chris Paul needs to use his legs in any sort of explosive bodily movement, for fear that he might pull, tear, or rupture his balky hamstrings. We saw it happen earlier this season against the Miami Heat, when Paul looked like he was shot in the leg by a sniper in the second deck, and went on to miss 17 games. More notably, Paul was knocked out of the conference finals last season in Game 5 against the Warriors, allowing the opposition to win Games 6 and 7, and essentially costing the Rockets their third NBA title in franchise history.
WILL FULLER, Texans WR (torn ACL)
The Will Fuller Experience has been a strange one indeed. On the one hand, he's missed 17 games in three seasons with everything from a broken clavicle to a pulled hamstring to a torn ACL that cut his 2018 season short. On the other hand, Deshaun Watson has tossed 11 touchdowns to Fuller in 11 games he's played with him, and has a 147.2 passer rating when throwing the ball to Fuller. Fuller is a no brainer to get a fifth year option exercised, which says everything about his potential and the potential of the Texans' offense with a healthy, fully unlocked Fuller in 2019.
JOSE ALTUVE, Astros second baseman (patellar fracture)
For all of the top end talent in the Astros' everyday lineup — Carlos Correa (more on him in a second), George Springer, Alex Bregman — the most indispensable everyday player is the 2017 MVP, second baseman Jose Altuve. Nobody offers the complete package of offensive disruptiveness — speed, average, moderate power, run producing — that Altuve does from right smack in the three hole of the Astros lineup. It's no coincidence that the Astros just couldn't stand toe to toe with the Red Sox with Altuve playing with essentially a busted knee in the ALCS. He went under the knife within hours of the postseason run ending in 2018.
CARLOS CORREA, Astros shortstop (undisclosed back injury)
In an American League where the Astros are competing with the other two of the top three teams in baseball, they need to have their full arsenal of weapons available. Nearly as damaging as a hobbled Altuve down the stretch and in the postseason last year was Correa, who was clearly not himself, as his power numbers dipped to damn near pitcher-hitting levels, and he spent copious amounts of time as low as seventh in the batting order. At some point, Astros fans are expecting an Alex-Rodrguez-esque style season from Correa. 2019 would be a good time to start.
D'ERIQ KING, UH quarterback (torn meniscus)
Before tearing his right meniscus in a non-contact injury in a game against Tulane, King had generated a nation-leading 50 touchdowns on offense. He had successful surgery shortly thereafter, and is expected to make a full recovery, which is great news for Cougar fans, who rightly cannot wait to see what a quarterback like King can do in new head coach Dana Holgorsen's offense.