Jadeveon Clowney will miss 4-6 weeks with a knee injury suffered in the Houston Texans season-opening win over Washington at NRG Stadium.
Is the turf to blame?
Clowney told safety D.J. Swearinger the injury happened when he stepped in a “hole” on the turf, a natural grass surface that is grown outdoors, brought in and laid in interlocking pieces before each game.
“He told me on the field when it happened, he was just like, ‘Bro, I just jumped, came down and hit one of the holes on the field,'” Swearinger said. “There are a few holes in the grass, so he said he thought he stepped on one of those holes and got hurt. So I told him to try and walk it off, see if he could go. He went in the next play and couldn’t go, so I told him to go to the sideline and see what’s up with it. And he went over to the sideline, and I guess that’s when they told him (he had to sit).”
It’s not the first time that a player has blamed Houston’s playing surface for an injury.
Former Texans punter Brett Hartmann in 2012 sued the companies that manage the field, SMG and the Harris County Convention and Sports Corporation.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was very critical after then-New England wide receiver Wes Welker tore his ACL at NRG Stadium in 2010.
“The turf down there is terrible,” Belichick told Boston sports radio station WEEI-FM the day after. “It’s terrible. It’s just inconsistent. It’s all the little trays of grass and some of them are soft and some of them are firm and they don’t all fit well together, those seams. … Some of it feels like a sponge, some of it feels real firm and hard like the Miami surface. One step you’re on one, the other step you’re on another. I really think it’s one of the worst fields I’ve seen.”
Clowney underwent arthroscopic surgery on Monday, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said. Barring setbacks, that would put him on track to return sometime between Houston’s meeting with the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5 and Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7.