Only one month ago, Watson posted a video of himself running on an AlterG treadmill, so he appears to be progressing through his recovery from a torn right ACL, as expected. Speaking at the scouting combine last week, general manager Brian Gaine told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle that Watson may be able to participate in OTAs in some capacity, which would put him on pace to be a full go during training camp and/or the preseason. There's a chance his mobility will be compromised somewhat following such a serious injury, but his ability as a passer will make him an intriguing prospect once draft season kicks off in earnest.
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said Wednesday that Watson remains ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee and believes the quarterback will be available in some capacity for Organized Team Activities, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.
O'Brien's comments align with what he has said multiple times earlier in the offseason with regards to the franchise signal caller's recovery. While it remains to be seen if Watson will be a full participant in workouts by the time OTAs draw to a close, there seems to be little doubt about the 22-year-old gaining clearance for training camp, much less the start of the upcoming season. While the Houston staff could scale back Watson's involvement in the run game coming off a major surgery, his penchant for producing splash plays downfield make him one of the higher-upside fantasy options among quarterbacks.
Watson (knee) resumed running Monday, per his personal Twitter account.
Since the end of the regular season, head coach Bill O'Brien has stated multiple times that Watson is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn right ACL suffered in practice Nov. 2. Watson was handed a timetable of 8-to-9 months, which could allow for participation at the outset of training camp. He appears to be eyeing that as a goal, according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com. "Training camp is a guarantee," Watson said last week on Sports Radio 610. "I am making sure I am ready for training camp for sure. ... The more reps I can get during OTAs, during the summer and during training camp is going to be very, very helpful, not just for me but for the whole team. OTAs is the main focus right now." Watson's rehab will continue to be a hot topic after a stellar rookie season in which he tossed for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns versus eight interceptions in seven games.
The team's offseason program begins in mid-April and runs until mid-June. With that in mind, Watson wouldn't totally commit to a timetable that would entail him taking the field during OTAs, but he expressed zero doubt with regard to his training camp availability. "Training camp is a guarantee," Watson noted. "I am making sure I am ready for training camp for sure. OTAs, it just depends on everything on how it is coming along, but for sure training camp." Prior to tearing his right ACL in early November, Watson was in the midst of a fantastic rookie campaign, in which he threw for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns (versus eight picks) in seven games. Assuming no hiccups in his recovery, Watson figures to be at or near full health in advance of Week 1, and if that's the case his name will presumably appear in the top tier of most fantasy rankings.
Watson relayed about two weeks ago that he was "on the right track" with his recovery from Nov. 8 surgery to address the ligament damage to his right knee, so O'Brien's comments seemingly support the quarterback's optimism. O'Brien didn't rule out of the possibility of Watson being able to take part in Organized Team Activities, which begin in mid-April, but the 22-year-old would likely face significant restrictions if available. Regardless, it's looking promising that Watson will be at or near full strength when training camp opens in the summer, putting him on track to take back starting duties for the Texans in Week 1 of the 2018 campaign. Watson, who was enjoying a whirlwind rookie year before suffering the non-contact knee injury during a practice, should still be viewed as an upper-tier fantasy option at the position due to the dual-threat abilities he exhibited during his first season.
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