Houston Texans' Ryan Mallett (15) passes against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Patric Schneider
November 24, 2014

HOUSTON (AP) Houston quarterback Ryan Mallett is being evaluated for an undisclosed injury and coach Bill O'Brien said Monday more about his status will be known later this week.

O'Brien wouldn't say what the injury was amid reports Mallett has a torn pectoral muscle. O'Brien answered question after question about the quarterback with some variation of: ''He's still being evaluated and we'll have more to report toward the end of the week.''

''I'm trying to get ready for Tennessee so if there's Tennessee questions then - we're moving on to Tennessee,'' he said.

Mallett was solid in his first career start in a win over Cleveland on Nov. 16, but he routinely overthrew receivers in a loss to the Bengals on Sunday.

If he can't play Sunday against Tennessee, the Texans will likely go back to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was benched for Mallett during the bye after Houston started the season 4-5. The only other quarterback on the roster is Tom Savage, a rookie who was taken in the fourth round of the draft.

Mallett was listed on the injury report last week with a chest injury but did not miss practice time. Teammates said they knew something was wrong during the game, but didn't know what the problem was.

''On the last two drives, just saw him kind of grimacing in pain a little bit after a couple of throws,'' left tackle Duane Brown said. ''I didn't know exactly what was going on or the extent of it.''

Receiver DeAndre Hopkins said how he played on Sunday makes more sense now that they know he was injured, and he raved about the toughness of the quarterback.

''His second start, the guy wanted it,'' Hopkins said. ''He wanted to win. You could see it in his eyes. He never let (it) show that he was hurt. He never really let us down on the sideline. He was the same Ryan.''

The Texans traded for Mallett on Aug. 31, reuniting him with O'Brien, who was the offensive coordinator for the Patriots when he was a rookie in 2011. Mallett didn't see much action in New England as Tom Brady's backup, and didn't take a single snap in two of his three seasons there. He appeared in four games in 2012, but completed just one of four passes for 17 yards with an interception.

Fitzpatrick has thrown for 1,960 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Texans are 28th in the league with just 207.5 yards passing a game.

Despite his benching, the Texans insist that they're confident in Fitzpatrick's ability to lead the team if Mallett has to miss any time.

''Fitz isn't a stranger to the starting lineup or playing in big games,'' Brown said. ''We have all the confidence in the world in him if he's under center. That's just where we are.''

Fitzpatrick said it won't be anything new to him if he gets thrust back into the starting job.

''That's what being a quarterback is,'' he said. ''That's what kind of my whole career has been.''

He faced a similar situation last year when Jake Locker was injured midway through the season and Fitzpatrick had to step in and finish the year for the Titans.

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