An MRI examination Tuesday morning confirmed that Joppru completely tore the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee during practice Monday. There is also a small, far less significant, tear in the medial collateral ligament.
Joppru was a second-round choice in the 2003 draft and is arguably one of the most star-crossed players in recent NFL history.
The injury occurred in a non-contact drill as Joppru planted his foot to make a cut. He is expected to undergo surgery in the next 10 days to three weeks.
"It's just one of those things," said Texans general manager Charley Casserly, following practice Monday. "It's just bad luck."
Since the Texans made Joppru the 41st overall selection in 2003, he has known little but misfortune.
Joppru, 25, has yet to play in a regular-season game. He missed his entire rookie season in when he suffered a pelvic hernia during the first week of training camp and was placed on injured reserve.
Last summer, after Joppru aggravated that groin injury, the Texans placed him on the non-football injury list. He subsequently was moved to injured reserve in early December when it became obvious he could not play.
The former University of Michigan standout becomes at least the fourth player in the last three weeks to suffer an apparent season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear during an offseason workout.
A pair of rookies, Buffalo third-round tight end Kevin Everett and New Orleans fourth-round wide receiver Chase Lyman, likely will miss their entire debut campaigns after surgeries to repair ACL injuries. Second-year cornerback Will Poole of the Miami Dolphins, expected to challenge for the starting vacancy created by the trade of Patrick Surtain to Kansas City, had similar surgery Monday morning.
When the Texans selected Joppru, they envisioned him as a player capable of providing an upfield dimension to the tight end position, while also being a physical blocker for the running game. He was one of the fastest-rising prospects in the weeks preceding the '03 draft. He had displayed compelling athleticism: 53 catches for 579 yards and five touchdowns as a senior.
Largely because of his injuries, Joppru was listed as the No. 4 tight end on the Texans depth chart this spring, but coaches and team officials acknowledged he was enjoying an excellent offseason. Now he faces another long and tedious rehabilitation process.
"Over the last three years," said coach Dom Capers, "he's had as tough a luck as anybody, but that's part of this game."
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.