NFL: Patriots' Welker leaves with left knee injury
HOUSTON — New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker injured his left knee in the first quarter of Sunday's game in Houston and the team said he will not return.
Welker caught a pass from Tom Brady on New England's first possession and his knee appeared to buckle as he turned upfield. Trainers helped Welker off the field and he was taken to the locker room on a cart.
Welker entered the game with 122 catches for 1,336 yards and four touchdowns this season.
Brady started despite a rib injury. A Patriots spokesman said he was not aware of Brady having broken ribs, despite a CBS Sports report.
The Patriots' defense stopped Houston at the 1-yard line late in the first half, and rookie Brian Hoyer replaced Brady. Hoyer handed off to Fred Taylor on his first snap, Taylor fumbled and safety Bernard Pollard recovered in the end zone to give the Texans a 13-10 lead.
Brady returned for the Patriots' first series of the second half.
New England center Dan Connolly left in the second quarter with an ankle injury, and the team said his return was questionable.