With the NFL playing Thursday night games throughout the season, every team draws the assignment once per year of playing on a Sunday and then playing on a Thursday. And while the NFL likes to point out that the injury rate for short-week games is no worse than the injury rate for Sunday or Monday games, the league constantly glosses over the fact that players who emerge from Sunday’s game with an injury or simply general bumps and bruises have a very limited opportunity to turn it around before the next game.
“It’s very difficult,” Texans defensive end J.J. Watt told reporters on Tuesday. “No doubt about it. For every player. Thursday nights are very tough for us because it is a short turnaround. It’s a very violent game and bodies take a beating, so you want to make sure you do everything you can to get your body back. It’s just something you have to do. Every teams got to do one a year. We’re doing ours early. Hopefully that helps us.”
Watt is impressed with his teammates’ efforts to prepare for a big game on a short week.
“Our guys are doing a great job,” Watt said. “I think everybody’s taking some of the advice that we’ve been given on how to handle it. I think everybody’s doing a good job of taking care of their bodies, getting extra sleep, getting extra treatments, cold tubs, everything. I think our guys are doing a great job in taking it very seriously because we know that we have a great challenge ahead and we look forward to it and everybody wants to be at our best. I think our guys honestly have handled it really well.”
For Watt, playing on Thursday after playing on Sunday presents an extra challenge, given his late-offseason back surgery.
“I’m doing everything that I can to make sure that I’m ready for Thursday night,” Watt said. “Last game definitely knocked some of that extra rust off from the first week and felt a lot better on Sunday. So hopefully on Thursday I knock some more off and feel better. It’s just a continuous process of making sure that I’m very, very smart with my body because of everything it’s been through. Obviously I hope to be at 100 percent at some point. I mean I can’t say for sure. I want to go out there and play the best that I can play.”
He played well on Sunday against the Chiefs, with 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. The Texans will need all players to play well if they hope to show that they can get past a Patriots team that has won six of seven games against the Texans since Houston entered the league in 2002.