The rookie suffered a torn ACL in one of his knees and will go on the injured reserve. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team hadn't announced the injury.
The former Clemson standout had been a relative bright spot in challenging season for the Texans (3-4). The 12th overall pick in this year's draft was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month after throwing for 1,171 yards with 16 touchdowns and running for 145 yards and another score.
Among other games, Watson would miss a Monday night showdown against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 27.
Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard announced Thursday that Luck, who has been out since undergoing surgery in January for a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, will be placed on injured reserve, probably ending his season.
The Ravens will play the Colts on Dec. 23.
In recent weeks, injuries have kept the Ravens from having to face several other starting quarterbacks: the Oakland Raiders’ Derek Carr, the Minnesota Vikings’ Sam Bradford and the Miami Dolphins’ Jay Cutler.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, talked about Watson's injury, and noted that he rebounded from the same injury when he was with the Tigers.
“I talked to Deshaun late this afternoon and we are disappointed,” Swinney said. “But, he is a person who has had some setbacks in his life, and always comes back stronger. Since he went through the rehab before, he knows what it takes.”
Watson also tore his ACL in 2014 as a freshman at Clemson.
“All he did after the injury in 2014 was come back and lead us to the national championship game twice and of course we won it last year,” Swinney said. “He started all 30 games the last two years here. I have no doubt he will come back from this. He has the resolve. His work ethic and drive are incredible.”
Many people took to Twitter to express dismay at the injury and wish Watson well.
Watt tweeted: “Minor setback for a major comeback. We've all seen what's possible, can't wait to see what's next. With you every step of the way 4,”.
NBA superstar LeBron James tweeted a link to a story about his injury and wrote: “This seriously just made me sad man!! Get well and stronger asap.”
Watson’s development this season had been a revelation for a team that has featured a revolving door at quarterback over recent years. The Texans signed Brock Osweiler to a $72 million contract before last season, but he was benched before the season was over and shipped to the Cleveland Browns in the offseason.
When Houston traded up 13 picks to take Watson, many assumed he'd be the starter to open the season. But coach Bill O'Brien insisted he back up Tom Savage. Watson's time as a backup was short-lived as Savage struggled in the opener and was benched at halftime, making the former Clemson standout the ninth quarterback the Texans have played in the past five years.
Watson made his first start in Week 2 and immediately excelled, leading the Texans to a 13-9 win on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. Since then, he's turned a team known for defense into one with a high-flying offense. Under his guidance, the Texans had scored 30 or more points in five straight games to set a franchise record.
Watson's 19 touchdown passes are tried for the league lead and are the most in NFL history through a player's first seven career games. He leads all quarterbacks this season with 21 touchdowns overall and has thrown four or more touchdown passes in three games this season to join Fran Tarkenton as the only rookies in NFL history to do so.
Now with his brilliant season cut short, the Texans will look to Savage to salvage this injury-filled season and try to reach the playoffs for the third straight season.
The Texans host the Colts (2-6) on Sunday.
The Texans will sign Matt McGloin to back up Savage, a person familiar with the move told The AP on the condition of anonymity because the team hadn't announced it. McGloin, who played for O'Brien at Penn State, was released by the Eagles on Sept. 1.
The Baltimore Sun contributed to this article.