Clowney rehab in Houston "on the right track"

Jadeveon Clowney is "doing well" in his return from a December knee surgery, general manager Rick Smith said on Thursday.

"The recovery process is an arduous process," Smith said during a Combine press conference. "We talk to him about that and how he would have to be diligent throughout that process. He's doing well and we expect that he would hopefully make a full recovery and be able to help us next year."

The first overall pick in the 2014 Draft, Clowney appeared in four games during a star-crossed rookie campaign. A starter at outside linebacker in Week 1, he left that contest against Washington with a tackle for loss and a knee injury that would require meniscus surgery later that week.

Clowney returned to action in a Week 8 win over the Titans, missed the next game against the Eagles, returned after the bye and played the next two contests against Cleveland and Cincinnati. After the loss to the Bengals, his season was finished, and he underwent a second surgery on the same knee. This time, though, it was for a microfracture injury.

"When he came out of the surgery, the first six weeks were very important because he couldn't put any weight on the knee," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "He had to be really disciplined in whatever he could do, rehab-wise. He had to be very disciplined doing that, and he was. I think he's on the right track."

Clowney is rehabbing in Houston, and both Smith and O'Brien expect a 2015 return to action for the former South Carolina Gamecock.

GM Rick Smith, head coach Bill O'Brien and numerous NFL hopefuls met with the media Thursday at the Combine.

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