By Adam Spolane

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- Speaking to reporters in front of his locker at NRG Stadium on the first day of 2018, J.J. Watt sounded like someone who is glad the calendar flipped.

“Obviously. 2017 was a very unfortunate year,” he said. “A lot of injuries, a lot of things going wrong.”

After playing in just three games in 2016, Watt lasted only five games in 2017 after fracturing the tibial plateau in his left leg during the Texans loss to Kansas City October 8. Monday he updated how his rehab from that injury is going.

“We’re really pleased with the progress. Very excited about where it’s going. It’s getting stronger every single day. They let me do a little bit more and more. It’s going to be – I get to run again in a little while. I’m on track for training camp. But, my assumption is that it shouldn’t be any problem, but if it needs a couple extra weeks, whatever, we’ll take it. From my understanding and from everybody here’s understanding, the way it’s looking, everything’s going really well. There shouldn’t be any issues.”

Watt admitted Monday the last two seasons have been difficult on him, but he remains positive about his future.

“I think I’ve gone through a whole lot of phases over the last two years. I’ve gone through disappointment and depression of missing a year. I’ve gone through the excitement of working to come back and then I’ve gone through the hurt and heartbreak of missing another year. But, I think the thing that I have learned through it all is that no matter what your mindset is the No. 1 thing that gets you through everything. For me it’s my mindset moving forward, it’s the excitement, it’s the ambition, it’s the drive, it’s the fire.”

Part of Watt’s excitement about the Texans future is quarterback Deshaun Watson. His season-ending injury occurred less than four weeks after Watt’s, so the two had a chance to spend a lot of time together throughout the second half of the season.

“We have won a few division titles with like 15 different quarterbacks, so if we have one quarterback who is back there who can play the way that he plays, who has the potential and has the abilities he has, of course. I think he has great potential. We are really excited to see what he can do with a full season. I’m definitely excited to have a franchise quarterback.”

Along with himself and Watson, the Texans will get Whitney Mercilus back in 2018, and when you add those players in with DeAndre Hopkins, Jadeveon Clowney, and Benardrick McKinney, Watt feels like his team is capable of making a run next season.

“That’s what gets me out of bed every day. That’s what gets me to work my hardest every single day is what this team is capable of and what we can do with these guys and it’s really exciting.”

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