Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (90) during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jadeveon Clowney has the greatest challenge he’s faced as an athlete in front of him, and the Texans have to address the field situation at NRG Stadium. Clowney was placed on IR and is expected to miss somewhere around 9 months, with little chance of a complete return of full knee function the Texans have to accept their 1st round draft pick was wasted. This isn’t Clowney’s fault, in the NFL stuff happens. However the field at NRG, often cited as one of the poorest fields to play on may have contributed to the end of Clowney’s rookie season and beyond. Clowney’s drive to return will have a lot do with when and how well he returns against this stacked deck. Clowney faces a long road to recovery.
Back in December of 2011 the Texans lost young promising kicker Brett Hartmann who got his foot caught in a seam that shredded his ACL. Hartmann is currently in suing SMG the venue management company responsible for putting the field out. He’s also suing the Harris County Convention and Sports Corporation. Clowney also had a run in with a seam according to former South Carolina teammate D.J. Swearinger. He talked about the incident with Albret Breer of the NFL Network. “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.’ There are a few holes in the grass, so he said he thought he stepped on one of those holes and got hurt.” That’s one player whose career ended, Hartmann and another whose future is at best a hope and pray situation right now.
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Clowney underwent microfracture surgery, an operation that has ended the careers of NFL, NBA and other athletes. The problem is, that the cartilage damage done is not fixable. Your body doesn’t replace it, this process pokes a bunch of small holes in the area of the damage with the hopes of forcing the body to repair itself with cartilage scarring. It’s not the ideal solution. The good news for Clowney is that the surgery offers a relief from the pain and swelling but a return to pre-injury form is rare.
The question now is, if this fails and Clowney’s NFL Career is over will he join Hartmann in suing? Will the Texans change the field out with either costly renovations to do like the Cardinals and have a single massive ray or bite the bullet and go to the modern version of Astro Turf, known as Field Turf. One can hope that Clowney is one of the rare success stories from the microfracture surgery, we can also hope the powers that be at Texans HQ decide to address the shoddy field tray system before say J.J. Watt’s career ends in a pot hole on the field.
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