Texans defensive end J.J. Watt won the NFL’s defensive player of the year award last season despite playing through some significant injuries.
Watt, who started all 16 games last season, said on SportsRadio 610 in Houston that he has never had a more difficult season. Watt discussed the broken hand that forced him to play part of the season in a cast, the groin injury that required offseason surgery, and also a back injury that has received less attention but which slowed him down for part of the year.
“Last year was definitely by far the most strenuous on my body that I’ve ever had, fighting through a whole bunch of things that I’ve never dealt with before,” Watt said. “We had the broken hand. I had a herniated disk in my back halfway through the year. I had, obviously, everything that went on with my groins and I don’t think people fully understand what that process was like and how long that had been dealt with.”
Despite all that, Watt played more than 96 percent of the Texans’ defensive snaps last year, and he’s back to a rigorous offseason workout program now.
“I’m doing pretty darn well,” Watt said. “I feel really good. I’m back to full-fledged training. Obviously, I’m working to get back to my 100 percent tip-top shape. I am back to my full workouts, I’m back to everything. So now it’s just building back to what I was and going above and beyond that, which I will be at by the first game of the season.”
There has to be some concern in Houston that all those nagging injuries will eventually catch up to Watt. But there also has to be some concern for the rest of the AFC South that if what we saw last year was Watt at less than 100 percent, what we see this year could be scary.