WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va — The Houston Texans will open training camp on Thursday morning with quarterback Deshaun Watson and defensive end J.J. Watt “cleared and ready to go,” according to general manager Brian Gaine.
Both players are coming off serious injuries that forced an early end to their seasons and time on injured reserve. Watt broke his leg in the Texans’ Week 5 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs; Watson tore the ACL in his right leg in an early November practice and had surgery shortly after. Throughout the Texans’ spring workouts, Watson and Watt both said they were optimistic they would be ready for the regular season.
“[Watson is] cleared and ready to go,” Gaine said. “We’ll be efficient, we’ll be smart [and] we’ll be productive at the same time. But he’s full-go, ready to go [and we’ve] just got to be smart.
“[Watt is] full-go, he’s ready to go, just like we talked about with Deshaun [Watson]. He is coming off of a major injury. … We’re going to get our work done. But at the same time, [there’s] that healthy balance between being smart and going and getting it.”
In seven games last season, Watson threw for 19 touchdowns and 1,699 yards with eight interceptions before tearing his ACL. At the time of his injury, Watson was tied for the NFL lead in passing touchdowns and was on pace to shatter the rookie record of 26 passing touchdowns in a season. Watson was able to participate in 7-on-7 team drills during OTAs but did not face a pass rush.
Watt primarily worked off to the side during the spring workouts, but said in April that his rehab was “going really well” as he works back from his leg injury. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has played in just eight games in the past two seasons due to injury. Prior to the back injury he suffered during the 2016 season, he had not missed a game in his NFL career.