Texans coach DeMeco Ryans confirmed Wednesday that Howard will undergo surgery and said there was no timeline for his return to football activities.
Howard, who suffered the injury Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, was placed on injured reserve amid a series of roster moves Wednesday by the Texans.
"Tytus has done a good job of battling through," Ryans said. "I appreciate Tytus' toughness and trying to push through and play through some difficult injuries there. Tytus is a fighter. I appreciate it. He did a good job for us."
It marks the second long-term injury this season for Howard, who missed Houston's first four games with a broken hand. A first-round draft selection in 2019, Howard signed a three-year, $56 million extension before training camp this past summer.
Howard had to be helped off the field late in the first quarter Sunday and was replaced at left guard by rookie Juice Scruggs, who had just been activated from injured reserve the previous day.
The injury is a serious setback for the Texans (6-5), who are making a playoff push in the competitive AFC despite being beset by injuries to their offensive line throughout the season.
Scruggs, a second-round pick this year, missed Houston's first 10 games with a hamstring injury, prompting the Texans to move Howard to left guard this season instead of his customary right tackle position.
"Unfortunately we've had to deal with this before," Ryans said. "But we've done a good job of shuffling things around and guys just working well together as a unit."
ESPN's DJ Bien-Aime contributed to this report.