Jadeveon Clowney has missed three consecutive practices, will not practice in California, and will not play in the 49ers preseason game. Can this be 2015 all over again. Say it ain’t so, Joe.
Beyond the “Yogi-ism” in the headline and the Shoeless Joe Jackson reference in the first paragraph there is little to chuckle about in the seemingly never-ending injury saga of Jadeveon Clowney. Already the pundits are rehashing his injury history, revisiting the decision to draft him and downgrading the Texans’ prospects for 2016.
Clowney had serious micro-fracture knee surgery in 2014. He (and the Texans) should expect periodic, but manageable, inflammation and joint pain. Over time the knee could become arthritic. His career could be shortened.
That’s no secret. The prognosis is available to anyone having access to a search engine. But don’t overlook the “could”. Many players have this surgery. Most experience some of the post surgery issues. But, playing through the issues to achieve a very successful career is common.
It’s not Clowney’s fault, nor the Texans’, that he suffered the injury. Any player in the NFL could suffer that injury at any time and struggle with the consequences. Denial is not an option. The key is to recognize the nature of the injury and manage it.
Right now all we know for sure is that Clowney missed practice and will miss the first preseason game. Is it really worth aggravating a minor inflammation to play a series or so in a game that means absolutely nothing? Why all the panic?
Part of the problem is that by officially releasing nothing about the diagnosis and prognosis the Texans play into the fans’ worst fears. This creates a feeding frenzy in the media. I must admit to being part of that frenzy, but not part of “the sky is falling” sensationalism.
Reading the tea leaves (I have no inside information) my belief is that the Texans are taking a conservative approach to Clowney’s foreseeable discomfort. They are managing his inflammation, not a new injury, to calm it down before it gets worse.
This is not about whether Clowney is tough enough to play through pain. We will find that out in the regular season. Right now it is about having Clowney ready to play a big game against the Chicago Bears and beyond.
Aaron Rogers said it best, “R-E-L-A-X”. This is routine early training camp injury management. If I’m wrong I will panic with you later.