TEXANS’ STAR TAKES PRACTICE FIELD …
|| By FITSNEWS || Houston Texans’ defensive end Jadeveon Clowney practiced with his teammates this week for the first time since undergoing career-threatening knee surgery back in December.
The 22-year-old former University of South Carolina standout – taken No. 1 overall by the Texans in last year’s NFL draft – took part in individual drills, without wearing a knee brace.
“I feel pretty good,” Clowney told The Houston Chronicle. “Just happy to be back out there and be with my teammates. Means a lot to me to be back with the guys.”
Clowney told his coaches he wanted to participate in pass rush drills, saying he was “tired of hitting blocking dummies that don’t hit back.”
They weren’t ready for that, though.
Clowney’s return to the practice field is the latest step in his recovery from a risky, controversial microfracture surgery performed nine months ago in an effort to address lingering issues in his right knee. Clowney suffered a meniscus tear in the knee after landing awkwardly during his NFL debut on September 7. He returned to action seven weeks later, but struggled to recapture his trademark explosiveness off the line and experienced swelling in his knee after exertion.
That’s when the Texans shut him down for the year and opted for the microfracture surgery – a procedure in which tiny holes are punctured into the bones of the knees in an effort to stimulate the growth of new cartilage.
Clowney reported no swelling or pain in his knee following his participation in the Texans’ practice on Monday.
Texans’ physician Walt Lowe – who performed the operation – said last month that Clowney’s knee looked “spectacular.”
Houston plays its first preseason game on Wednesday against the San Francisco 49ers. Clowney is unlikely to see action in that game – and may not play at all in the preseason. The Texans have no plans to rush him back into action when the season starts on September 13, either. In fact it appears likely Clowney will be limited to pass rush situations during the early part of the 2015 season.