Minshew has had discomfort in his thumb since Jacksonville's Oct. 11 game at Houston, a source told ESPN. He did not tell the team about the pain until after the last game, a 39-29 loss to the Chargers, which led to a postgame X-ray in Los Angeles.
The Jaguars (1-6) didn't know about Minshew's injury until this week, per sources.
It is uncertain whether Minshew will be able to play when Jacksonville returns from its bye to host the Texans.
Jacksonville's backup quarterback is Mike Glennon, and Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone already stated before his team's last game against the Chargers that he might have to ponder a quarterback change. The thumb injury could make Marrone's decision easy.
The thumb injury might also explain why Minshew has sailed some passes in recent games, something that was not common previously; the thumb likely impacted his performance more than he and others realized.
Minshew completed a season-low 51.9% of his passes (14-for-27) for 173 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to the Chargers. He airmailed his first pass to a wide-open DJ Chark on the first play of the game, and the Jaguars' offense started the game with four consecutive three-and-outs. Minshew went 0-for-3 and was sacked three times in those four possessions.
Minshew has completed 65.9% of his passes for 1,855 yards and 13 touchdowns with five interceptions this season. He also has lost three fumbles, tied for the second most among all quarterbacks. However, Minshew has the NFL's third-best passer rating and fourth-best completion percentage on third down, per ESPN Stats & Information.
The Jaguars traded Nick Foles in March and turned the team over to Minshew to give him a chance to prove that he could be the franchise's long-term starter. He got off to a hot start, completing 75.4% of his passes for 512 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions in the Jaguars' first two games, but struggled after that.
Though his stats look good, he hasn't significantly improved on the issues that plagued him as a rookie last season: comfort in the pocket, arm strength, throwing receivers open and working the middle of the field. Plus, he's having trouble hooking up with top receiver Chark, who has caught only 63.4% of his targets (Chark has one drop).
Minshew took over for an injured Foles (broken collarbone) during the 2019 season opener but was put back on the bench when Foles returned in Week 9. Foles, however, was ineffective and Minshew returned as the starter in Week 12.
Minshew went 6-6 as the Jaguars' starter. He had the highest passer rating (91.2) and fewest interceptions (six) of any rookie quarterback while throwing for franchise rookie records in yards (3,271) and touchdowns (21).
ESPN's Michael DiRocco contributed to this report.