Texans' J.J. Watt wants to put his surgically-repaired leg to the test

Watt says he prefers to play in at least 1 preseason game

(Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – After 10 days of practice Texans defensive end J.J. Watt trusts his surgically-repaired left leg.

During week 5 last season, Watt suffered a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg, causing him to have season-ending surgery. Following months of rehabilitation, he reported to training camp healthy and looking to test his leg.

“It’s a process,” Watt said. “Over the course of the summer, I would say probably midway through the summer time, I started to feel really good with it and then at that point is when you can push it and really test the limits and try to get yourself back to where you think you’re going to be. Every week. I would try some new things and try to push it further to see where it was and it responded well. We just kept going and going. It’s been really good.”

Watt, who normally doesn’t play in preseason games for precautionary reasons, hopes to see some action in the Texans exhibition games.

“Yes, at least one of them,” Watt said Sunday. “I want to get a couple of live reps. It doesn’t need to be a lot but I think it’s important to at least see some live bullets before you go out there and have some guys flying at you for real.”

Head coach Bill O’Brien said Watt is in great shape and doing a really good job, but will he let the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year play in a preseason game?

“We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes,” O’Brien said. “We’ll see how the reps go in practice. That’s what it depends on. Preseason, a lot of it has to do with the reps in practice. There’s a lot more that goes into it nowadays than even 10 years ago.”

Watt has been limited to eight games during the past two seasons due to a broken leg in 2017 and two back surgeries the season before, so you know O’Brien will likely take a cautious approach. Either way, Watt always looks to get the most out of himself as he ramps up for the regular season.

“Practices are huge. Training camp practices are huge, Watt said. “The games, I’ll definitely need some live reps at some point before the regular season, but that’s just whatever the coaching staff wants, however many live reps they think you should see. But, we do such great work in practice, we have so many competitive reps that you don’t need a ton of live reps. You just want a few just to get your feet under you.”

Watt isn’t expected to play in the Texans preseason opener Thursday night at Kansas City.

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