Texans rookie Teagan Quitoriano hyperextended knee

Texans rookie tight end Teagan Quitoriano avoided any structural damage when he suffered a knee injury and didn’t return Saturday against the Tennessee Titans.

Quitoriano hyperextended his knee and bruised his quadriceps Saturday and underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam, according to league sources.

His status is regarded as day-to-day. With two games remaining in the regular season, the 2-12-1 Texans could opt to place Quitoriano on injured reserve for the second time and end his season.

Quitoriano missed the start of the season on injured reserve with a knee injury.

At 6-foot-6, 258 pounds, the fifth-round draft pick from Oregon State is a powerful blocker at the point of attack capable of shoving around defenders and creating pathways for the running game. He’s emerging as a more complete tight end who can be counted on in the passing game, too. Quitoriano has two touchdowns, including one in an overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and a leaping score against the Philadelphia Eagles in his first NFL game after being activated from injured reserve. He has four receptions for 30 yards on 10 targets.

“I feel really good about it,” Quitoriano said last week. “I had that setback and missed the start of the season and I just tried to keep my head up, keep working on my craft, keep my head in the game and stay really tight on the playbook. I think I did a pretty good job with that, started knocking the rust off and continue to improve.”

When the Texans drafted Quitoriano, they envisioned him as a classic Y tight end who can block and be a threat in the passing game. He has lived up to that advance billing. Quitoriano has become the Texans’ top blocking tight end.

“We scouted him and brought him in wanting him to be a traditional Y tight end: a guy that can block in-line, block the defensive ends, tackles, all of that,” Texans coach Lovie Smith said. “With being able to be a factor in the passing game, I think that’s what we’ve gotten. He is going to be an excellent blocker, but I think what we’ve seen from him being a pass catcher has maybe even been a little bit more. You just never know when a rookie comes in exactly what you’re going to get.”

Since missing time with the injury, which didn’t require surgery, Quitoriano has played in eight games with five starts.

His chemistry and timing with quarterback Davis Mills keeps trending upward.

“I’m just being more comfortable, understanding coverages and where my spots are,” Quitoriano said. “I think that’s my biggest improvement and just really being comfortable out there. I’m getting trust with them that I’m going to be in the right spot. That’s been big, too.”

Selected 170th overall, Quitoriano, caught 40 passes for 512 yards and six touchdowns at Oregon State.

“Once we drafted him, seeing some of his film from college and seeing what he’s done early on, it’s extremely impressive,” Mills said. “The more he continues to develop like he has, I’m really excited for his future.”

Quitoriano became the fifth player in franchise history to catch a touchdown in his first career game and the first since tight end Brevin Jordan last year. He’s the third player in franchise history to catch a touchdown on his first career reception, joining Derick Armstrong in 2003 and Jaelen Strong in 2015.

“Teagan is really the epitome a guy that takes a lot of pride in playing without the ball,” offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. “That’s one of the requirements that we have for our skill players, but we won’t just designate him as a run blocker. He’s also a weapon in the passing game. The more he continues to practice with our quarterbacks, we’re hoping that we’ll be able to feature him in the passing game as well.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

Philadelphia Eagles v Houston Texans

Photo: Getty Images

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