Torn ligaments no problem for Defensive Player of the Year.
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has revealed that his dislocated left elbow suffered last pre-season never really healed before his impressive campaign.
With 20.5 sacks, 81 tackles and 16 pass deflections Watt sealed the Defensive Player of the Year award, and says that his troublesome elbow injury affected him early on the season, but as the season progressed he learnt how to deal with it and it clearly showed on the field.
His 16 pass deflections was an NFL record for a defensive linesman as he led the way in the league with his number of sacks too.
However, the 24-year-old missed the majority of the pre-season warm-ups and wore a large black brace throughout the regular season and play-offs in the 18 games the Texans played in.
“In the beginning, it definitely affected me,” he said via HoustonTexans,com.
“All the ligaments in there were torn, they were all gone, so they had to have time to recover and regroup. So obviously, I wasn’t at full strength. The brace helped a lot, but it was more of a mental thing, getting over the thought process of knowing that it was injured and making sure that I could still have confidence in it.
“As the season went on, I got more and more confidence in it and obviously, it didn’t hinder me too much, I had some success out there. But I’m looking forward to a 100 per cent full healthy season,” he concluded.
Watt also revealed that he took two weeks off before the Pro Bowl, but has since returned to a rigorous workout schedule that has been the foundation of his rise to fame and has allowed him to enjoy the success he has to date.
With his elbow now feeling “great”, if Watt can capture the Defensive Player of the Year award with an injury that would have hindered his game, he will be expected to come back even better in the new season at full strength.
He now has the remainder of the off season to continue to allow the injury to properly heal, as the Texans bid to improve on their third place finish in the AFC and reach the conference championships and beyond.