HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) — J.J. Watt seemed convinced last offseason that the back injury he suffered in 2016 wouldn’t be an issue for the Houston Texans in 2017.
He seems as confident about his prospects this time around.
“This is an injury where there’s no — once it’s done it’s done,” Watt said, in his first public comments since he was lost for the season against the Kansas City Chiefs. “There’ll be no problem once i’m back and healthy.”
Watt, 28, was once a model of durability.
He started every game in each of his first five NFL seasons, winning three NFL Defensive Player of the Year Awards over the span.
But since, he’s played only eight games and suffered two season-ending injuries, this time, a tibial plateau fracture.
Will he be able to stay healthy moving forward?
But Watt said he expects to be ready for 2018, and didn’t seem concerned when talking about his playing future.
“Things are going great,” Watt said. “Things have been going really well. Our staff is obviously doing a great job. Just very happy to be able to walk. When you’re not able to walk for two months. You really kind of understand how much you take it for granted on a day to day basis. So i’m just very happy to be able to get up and get my own food out of the fridge.”
Still, Watt said, it’s hard being unable to play.
“It sucks, I’m not gonna lie to you,” he said. “I wanna be out there with the guys. I hate not being out on the field. I hate not being out at practice. But I also understand, it’s part of the game. All I can do is do everything I can in the rehab room to get ready for next year.
“The biggest difference between last year and this year for me is I’m not letting myself go into that kind of like depressed injured reserve mode. I’m still gonna be optimistic, I’m still gonna have fun, I’m still gonna try and enjoy myself, because there’s no point. If you let yourself get down on yourself, then you’re gonna have a rough time. But I’m trying to have fun and be happy, and do the best i can do stay optimistic.”
One of the things helping him stay so upbeat, Watt said, is the cast of characters in the training room with him, including Deshaun Watson, Whitney Mercilus, D’Onta Foreman among others.
“We have a pro bowl roster in our IR room,” Watt said. “But it is one of those things where we look around at each other and there’s a lot of guys that know how to have fun and a lot of confident guys. If somebody’s having a rough day, the other guys pick em up. There’s a lot of dancing going on, there’s a lot of joy and happiness, and I think that there’s a sense of what can happen once we all get on the field together, once we all have a chance to play at the same time.
“I think there’s some really big things ahead, and I think we’re all really excited about that possibility.”