The Houston Texans have not had the top overall pick from the 2014 NFL draft on the field very much at all. Outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney spent much of his rookie season injured, and spent his first offseason recovering from microfracture knee surgery, which he had in December.
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All the news from the Texans about the rehab work for Clowney has been optimistic, and the team even is said to be impressed by his progress. Team general manager Rick Smith said he expects big things this season from Clowney.
Perhaps Smith is correct, and Clowney will bounce back and be a solid NFL player, even if he is never as explosive as he once seemed to be. However, does all this positive news on his work mean that the pass rusher will be ready to go by the first week of the season?
That question was answered in a Twitter mailbag by Tania Ganguli of ESPN;
"He’s not participating in on-field activities yet, which is part of the schedule. The rehab for microfracture surgery lasts nine months and he had his surgery in early December, which should mean he’ll finish up rehab around early August. Once he’s past that phase, though, starts the process of his getting back into playing shape. The Texans learned a hard lesson in rushing him last year when they tried to push him before his knee was ready. I expect he’ll be available in Week 1, but whether he’ll be ready to resume a starting role is a more iffy proposition."
I would have to agree with Ganguli that there is a very good chance that the young man is available for Houston by week one, but I don’t see the team rushing him into the amount of snaps a starting player would get. Clowney should be worked back into the lineup slowly to make sure he is fully healthy and has all the trust in his knee that he needs.
As long as he is able to recover from this injury, he will be a good player for the Texans for many more years. Taking it slow is the smartest approach the team can take.