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Houston Texans

J.J. Watt hates watching practice, already attacking rehab


Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was at practice on Friday with a sling on his left arm, holding his dislocated left elbow in place.

The second-year star was injured in practice on Thursday morning, sending a major scare through Texans training camp until the team got news that Watt will be fine by Week 1 for the Texans' Sept. 9 game against the Miami Dolphins.

"(It was a) big relief," Watt said. "To know I'll be able to run out of that tunnel with my teammates on 9/9, it's going to be a good day, and I'm really excited about that. So I'm just going to rehab hard.

"Watching practice sucks. I hate it. I want to be out there with my teammates, my brothers. We're going to treat this to the full extent. Obviously, it's the preseason, so I'd much rather have it happen now than in the season. I'm just going to make sure I'm 100 percent by the time I get back."

Texans coach Gary Kubiak left open the possibility that Watt could return before the end of the preseason. The Texans' first preseason game is at Carolina next Saturday, Aug. 11.

Watt got started with his rehab right away on Thursday afternoon and continued his quick recovery on Friday morning.

"I walked in the training room this morning at five minutes after 5, and he was already there," Kubiak said. "That's J.J. He's going to be banging to get on this field as quick as possible, but we're going to do the right thing, get him to opening day full-speed. Hopefully, that means he's playing a little bit in the preseason toward the end, but if that's not the case, I'm going to do what's right. But he is gonna be back."

Watt's injury occurred on a play in which he had his left arm fully extended to tackle running back Arian Foster. Contact with Foster pushed his arm back while a defensive teammate ran into the back of his arm, pushing his elbow forward. 

"It was scary," Watt said. "Elbow popped out, and it looked all weird. It was crazy-looking. Guys were saying, 'Oh, look at his elbow,' and I'm laying down there like, 'Come on, man.' But Kap (Texans athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan), our trainers, were right on the spot, came out, popped it right back in. It's football. It's a freak accident. Sometimes things like that happen. They popped it right back in, and I'll be back as soon as I can."

After he was injured on Thursday, Watt received thousands of messages from fans via social media with well-wishes for his recovery. He was greeted to a roaring cheer from the crowd at the Methodist Training Center on Friday when he walked on to the field around 8:30 a.m.

"It's awesome," Watt said. "We have unbelievable fans. They're amazing. I really appreciate them, all their support on Twitter, on Facebook, everything, so I'm grinding to get back out here for them, too. They're so important to us, I want to get back out there for them."

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