Less than one week after back surgery, J.J. Watt was on hand for the Texans first training camp practice.
Watt, currently on the Active/PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, stopped by to visit with his Make-A-Wish friend, Jeston Adams, an eight-year-old boy awaiting a heart transplant.
He also addressed questions about his return.
"I can't put a solid start date on when I'm going to be able to play," Watt said Sunday. "I've never missed a game in my five years. In 2012, I missed all of training camp and didn't have a problem there. I don't see this being a problem. I don't plan on missing my first game now, but I can't promise it. I'm going to do everything I can."
Watt underwent back surgery on Wednesday for a herniated disc that occurred last season. He was able to play through it, but his back issues continued to linger even once the season ended. Doctors felt that surgery was the best option for Watt.
"Throughout the offseason there would be slight flare-ups here and there but we would always get it under control, so there was nothing really bad," Watt said Sunday. "Right before training camp we just wanted to do a check up and see where I was at. Once the MRI came back we realized it was worse than we thought and that's when we knew, so that's why it happened so close to training camp."
Watt, who was cleared to practice during OTAs and minicamp after his January groin surgery, will be limited to walking for now. The All-Pro says he feels good after his back surgery (even sneaking in a light jog on Sunday) and remains cautiously optimistic about his return.
"I'm five years into this now and I've learned that if you end up missing a game or two in the short term to save yourself in the long term, that's smarter," Watt said. "But that's not to say I'm going to miss a game or two. I'm out here with the mindset to play Week 1 and if it comes Week 1 and they say, 'You're not ready' then I'm not ready. I'm going to listen to what the doctors say and I'm going to do everything they tell me to do. But it's my mindset to work to play for game one."
The Texans continue training camp with practice on Monday at 8:30 a.m. at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
A collection of photos of J.J. Watt from the 2015 season.