As we edge closer to training camp, which officially starts one week from this Friday, one of the big questions on everyone's mind is whether Jadeveon Clowney will be on the field with his teammates. Previous updates have been positive, with comments from Bill O'Brien saying he thinks the young linebacker will be ready for WeekOone of the regular season against the visiting Chiefs, and perhaps even be ready in time for training camp.
That's an impressive recovery from a very challenging procedure that typically leads to significant atrophy of the leg muscles; the patient is generally unable to put any weight on the leg for upwards of eight weeks after surgery. You may recall that team trainers were utilizing innovative military techniques to help some of the Texans' players during their rehab process. Clowney was one of those players.
The technique known as "blood flow restriction training" is described in detail by Dr. Walt Lowe, head team physician for the Texans, in this latest article from Jerry Barca at Forbes:
Typically, given the knee injury and subsequent surgery, a guy Clowney’s size would have lost about three centimeters of girth around his quadricep. That didn’t happen. Not even close. He lost between a 1/2 centimeter and 1 centimeter, said Dr. Walt Lowe, the head team physician for the Texans.
Injured knees blow up with swelling. Combine that with the accompanying pain and the body instinctively moves to shut down the quadricep, weakening it. Then you can’t put weight on it. The muscle begins to die as the player can’t do anything to build strength there.
If the Texans can get Clowney back to "who he was before he got hurt," then 2015 may be one of the most electrifying seasons to watch the defense in the franchise's brief history. I can only imagine what it will look like to have a healthy Clowney in the lineup alongside: J.J. Watt, Vince Wilfork and a healthy Brian Cushing.