Arian Foster exited Sunday's game almost as soon as it got underway, not because of aggravating his hamstring injury, but because of a back injury. Could they be related? It's certainly possible. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if they were.
Back problems and hamstring problems often go hand in hand, either directly because of pain radiating from the back to the legs, or indirectly due to increased tone (or muscle tension) in the hamstrings associated with the back ailment. Tight hamstrings can not only be prone to increased injury potential within the muscle tissue itself, but they can also contribute to postural dysfunctions which can affect the entire back. Sometimes it can be difficult to sort out which problem is driving the train. Remember, Foster had a back issue nagging at him for several weeks prior to the start of the season.
Did the back problem set him up for a hamstring injury, which then predisposed him to flaring up the back? There's no way to definitively say for sure but it's reasonable to connect the dots since the body -- especially an athlete's -- functions as a well-coordinated unit. Problems in one area can lead to consequences in another, a scenario that repeats itself time and again as athletes try to push through the latter phases of injury recovery to accelerate their return to play.
It's not clear whether the Texans anticipate Foster missing any time, but this latest event (which caused Foster to leave in the first quarter) will make fantasy owners justifiably apprehensive about his next outing. Foster tumbled in Eric Karabell's end-of-season ranks, given the uncertainty surrounding his health.
Meanwhile, Ben Tate and his four cracked ribs led the charge for the Texans in Week 9. Despite playing in significant pain, Tate managed to grind out 81 yards on 22 carries. He plans to play again this Sunday, when the Texans face the Cardinals. Given Foster's uncertain status, the Texans will need him.