HOUSTON -- His coach and team owner have both said they believe Jadeveon Clowney can get back to being the player he once was after his rehabilitation from microfracture surgery.
What does Clowney think?
"I'm very confident about that," Clowney said, speaking for the first time since his Dec. 8 surgery. "This rehab's going to help me a lot to get back towards playing."
The December surgery was Clowney's second surgery during the 2014 season on his right knee. He suffered a torn lateral meniscus and articular cartilage damage in the Houston Texans' season opener and had arthroscopic knee surgery the next day. Though the Texans had hoped that surgery was all he needed, Clowney's knee did not respond as they'd hoped. He experienced pain and swelling that limited him on the field.
Following the microfracture surgery, Clowney had to stay off his feet for six or seven weeks, he said.
"Oh man, I thought it was going to be real rough but I had my family around me a lot so it kind of went by fast being at home," he said. "The minute they told me I could walk I took off."
Clowney did not have a visible limp while walking around during an appearance at a Puma store in Houston. It's the result of four or five hours of daily rehab.
"Rehab is (a lot) tougher than playing," Clowney said. "You gotta be in there earlier than everybody, you've gotta leave later than everybody. That's a lot tougher than playing."
He declined to reveal specifics on where he is in his rehab, but agreed with Texans coach Bill O'Brien's characterization that last week was one of his best weeks of rehab.
"Very encouraged," Clowney said. "Everything is looking good right now for me. I'm feeling better than I was previously. Just hoping to stay on this track and work towards getting back."