Houston Texans' defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is temporarily leaving the team for medical reasons, according to an official statement on the team's web site:
Wade Phillips will take a medical leave due to a scheduled surgical procedure later this week. He is expected to return later this season.
The statement's mention of a "scheduled procedure" indicates that team had prior knowledge of the absence, and states that both Phillips and head coach Gary Kubiak will speak with the media Wednesday afternoon.
Under Phillips, the Texans' defense has become one of the league's best in 2011, allowing only 274.9 yards of total offense per game (tops in the NFL), a decrease of over 100 yards and the biggest single season turnaround since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970. Phillips changed the Texans' defense to a 3-4 scheme this season, most notably moving former No. 1 overall draft pick Mario Williams to linebacker.
Texans' linebackers coach Reggie Herring will work as defensive coordinator in Phillips' absence, and coached on Phillips' staff in Dallas.
The 10-3 Texans have already clinched the AFC South, but are in contention for the No. 1 seed in the AFC Playoffs against New England and Baltimore. Houston hosts 4-9 Carolina on Sunday.