O'Brien deemed Watt ahead of schedule in early March and doubled down on the optimism when talking with the media in early April. While it's a good sign that his coach has been consistently optimistic, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year still hasn't participated in any form of on-field activity since having surgery in October to repair a tibial plateau fracture. He had 1.5 sacks in eight games over the past two seasons, after posting remarkable averages of 78.8 tackles, 17.3 sacks and 3.8 forced fumbles per year while playing every game from 2012 to 2015. Watt turned 29 in March, and he doesn't even need to make it all the way back to his peak form to be a dominant player.
O'Brien made similar comments in early March when he deemed Watt ahead of schedule but declined to provide specifics. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year underwent surgery in October to repair a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg, finishing the season with 15 tackles and no sacks in five games. Watt has played just eight games the past two seasons, after averaging 78.8 tackles, 17.3 sacks and 3.8 forced fumbles without missing a single contest from 2012 to 2015. He celebrated his 29th birthday in March and should have plenty of time to get healthy before the start of training camp.
O'Brien didn't provide any specifics with regard to where Watt stands in his recovery from surgery to address a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg, but the expectation remains that the three-time Defensive Player of the Year will be back to full strength for the start of training camp. With the leg injury and back surgery limiting him to just eight games over the past two seasons, Watt's reign as the unquestioned top IDP option along the defensive line is probably over, though he still probably represents one of the better commodities at his position heading into draft season.
Watt (leg) resumed running in mid-January and remains on track to return in time for training camp, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com reports.
Watt underwent surgery in October to repair a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg and still has significant work to do in the recovery process. There remains an outside chance that the 28-year-old could return for Organized Team Activities this spring, but the Texans are likely to express extreme caution with the return of their franchise defensive lineman.
Watt (leg) is on track for training camp and expects to start running soon, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.
It remains uncertain if Watt will return in time for April's organized team activities, but the four-time All-Pro defensive end at least sounds like he'll be fully recovered weeks ahead of the season opener.
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