J.J. Watt continues to insist he will be on the field with his Texans teammates when they open the regular season, but the severe injury he sustained last season — a tibeal plateau fracture — did not have doctors 100 percent certain the three-time defensive player of the year would play again.
“They weren’t even sure if the surgery would work and if he would be able to run anymore. That’s what was so scary for us,” said Watt’s girlfriend, pro soccer player Kealia Ohai, via Jenny Vrentas of SI.com. “An ACL is difficult, but it’s pretty straightforward. With J.J.’s, because of the type of injury, I remember the doctors were not exactly sure how his leg and his knee would react to [the surgery]. From the beginning, he wanted to work hard and come back. But for a while, [the question] was, would he be able to come back and play at the same level, and support that much weight? Will his leg ever be the same again?”
Watt’s returned to Texans practice, taking part in team drills, but he’s now missed 24 games over the past two seasons. It’s uncertain how the 29-year-old defensive end will look after this extensive rehab process.
Here’s the latest from the South divisions:
- D’Onta Foreman likely will not be joining Watt and other healthy Texans in Week 1. The second-year running back is likely to land on the Reserve/PUP list to start the season, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle notes. Foreman currently resides on the Active/PUP list, but if Houston places him on the regular-season version of the PUP, he must sit at least six weeks. Alfred Blue will take Foreman’s place as Lamar Miller‘s primary backup. Foreman tore an Achilles’ tendon in November.
- The Colts‘ backfield might not have its projected leader back by the season’s first Sunday. Marlon Mack‘s nursing a hamstring injury, and it’s “no slam dunk” he’ll be available for the opener, Frank Reich said (via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star, on Twitter). While the Colts are hopeful the second-year back can return by then and take his place with the starting offense, they may have to wait a bit for that to occur. The Colts will also be without Robert Turbin for the first four games of the season due to a suspension; they have rookies Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines, along with the well-traveled Christine Michael, in their backfield behind Mack.
- The Jets contacted the Jaguars this week regarding the trade availability of Dante Fowler.
- Derrick Morgan appears likely to miss the start of the Titans’ season due to meniscus surgery.