The Houston Texans put rookie outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney in season-ending injury reserve on Dec. 4. Clowney will undergo surgery on his right knee.
The Houston Texans put rookie outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney on season-ending injury reserve on Dec. 4.
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Texans head coach Bill O'Brien told Drew Dougherty of the team's official website on Thursday that Clowney will undergo surgery on his right knee:
"He will have surgery on his right knee. We think it's in the best interests of JD, and our team right now, to do that.
"As soon as he is able to, he will start rehabbing his knee. He will rehab very hard and he'll be back at some point in the near future."
O'Brien also told The Houston Chronicle's Brian T. Smith that Clowney understands why the move to IR was necessary:
"With any young player, you're disappointed when you hear the news that you can't play. I mean, this guy's a football player. That's what he is. He wants to play football. He wants to be good and so I think he was disappointed right off the bat. I think he understands what he has to do and why this is necessary."
For his part, Clowney told ESPN Houston Texans reporter Tania Ganguli on Thanksgiving Day about the pain he's in recently. He quipped, "A lot of pain right now, just been bothering me off and on the whole season. Something I've got to push through, but when the swelling comes up, it's a little setback."
According to Smith, Clowney flew to Pensacola, Fla. to consult with Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his right knee. Texans coaching staff and management huddled up on Thursday and decided that sitting Clowney out for the rest of the season is the best long-term decision.
O'Brien wouldn't specify the exact date of Clowney's surgery and the timetable for his return, per Smith.
After injuring his knee during a Week 1 17-6 win over the Washington Redskins, Clowney took the field in Week 8 in a 30-16 road win over their AFC South rivals, the Tennessee Titans. He sat out the following week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles because he felt sore. Clowney returned to action for the Texans' next two games against the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals before he missed the Texans' home game against the Titans in Week 13, per Dougherty.
Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel regretted losing Clowney to season-ending IR, but deemed it necessary. He told Dougherty other pass rushers will have to step up in his absence as Houston makes its late-season push.
Crennel said,"That's all we can do, is hope that he can get healthy. Because when he's healthy, we know what he's capable of."
Whitney Mercilus is the most logical candidate to take Clowney's place in the rotation. During the eight games he's pitched in for the rookie, he's amassed four sacks, seven tackles for loss and 10 quarterback hits, per Dougherty.
Smith argues Clowney's injury is just the latest manifestation of the Texans' poor performance in the NFL draft in recent years. Among the players who joined the Texans in the last two seasons, DeAndre Hopkins, D.J. Swearinger and Alfred Blue are the ones who have made the most impact. However, only three selections from last year's draft are on Houston's active roster. Aside from Clowney, Louis Nix III and Lonnie Ballentine are also on the Texans' injured reserve list.
Houston will have to wait until 2015 for the much-anticipated pairing of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney on the defensive side of the ball. Clowney should lock up a starting spot by then, per Smith.
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