Jadaveon Clowney is more than ready to begin his first NFL season.
ESPN is reporting that Clowney's right knee, which doctors had performed an arthroscopy back in September, is ready to play in spite of the residual pain there.
"I'm the best I'm going to be this season, I feel like," Clowney said. "Take it and go ahead and play football."
Clowney, the top overall draft pick this year, tore his meniscus during the first half of the Texans' season opener against Washington. He suffered the injury when he came down awkwardly after jumping to bat a pass. He had surgery September 8 and returned to practice October 17, the Friday before the Texans played the Pittsburgh Steelers on "Monday Night Football."
Clowney tried his right knee out during practice in Pittsburgh. Clowney said running full speed back and forth was fine, but cutting and changing directions still created pain..
"It's coming along all right," Clowney said of cutting on his knee. "The knee's going to bother me a little bit, but there's some stuff you gotta push through and come out here and play."
Houston coach Bill O'Brien said Clowney won't be playing his normal routine, his role will be scaled back and the gradually increased to normal.
The Boston Globe reports that when Clowney was asked about if the knee strength was close to normal strength, Clowney said, ''I have no clue right now,'' he said. ''I always feel like I can be better than I am now. So who knows, we'll see around game time.''
"Just going to practice, working on my craft," Clowney said. "[I need to] get back in football shape. I've been running, but it's still not the same as running around on the football field."
Clowney is less concerned about nerves and being scared so much as being rusty having been off for six wee
''I won't be nervous or jittery,'' he said. ''I'll just be out there trying to remember what I'm supposed to do on different assignments.''
If he does play, coach Bill O'Brien has said it will be in a limited capacity. Whitney Mercilus has been solid filling in for Clowney and O'Brien said he'll still get playing time when Clowney is back.
''We're not going to put him back in there and play 70-80 plays,'' O'Brien said. ''He's going to kind of [be] eased back into the rotation anyway.''
[Image courtesy of Black Sports Online]