Bill O'Brien has "high expectations" for Jadeveon Clowney.
But his high expectations come with a clarification.
"When I say high expectations, I mean for him coming back and being on schedule to start the season," the head coach said after Friday's OTA.
The outside linebacker is on the comeback trail after undergoing microfracture knee surgery in early December of 2014. It was the third surgery he underwent that calendar year, as he had a sports hernia repair last June and a meniscus surgery in September. He's worked with the team's medical and strength and conditioning staff on side fields throughout OTAs, and O'Brien is very encouraged by Clowney's progress.
"I think they guy has worked hard," O'Brien said. "Now, when he comes back to be able to practice in
training camp, we don't really know that yet. Obviously, he would have to practice some to be able to be ready to play in the Kansas City game, even if it was on a limited basis."
The Chiefs are Houston's Week 1 opponent. O'Brien said the next month of training and rehab are critical to Clowney's success, and that the team is "looking forward" to seeing Clowney at the end of July.
Whenever the 2014 first overall pick returns to play in games, he won't be on the field for the duration.
"I think the smart thing to do would be not to put him in there for 80 plays a game," O'Brien said.
The head coach emphasized that Clowney would have to beat out the likes of Whitney Mercilus and John Simon for playing time, first. If he did, in fact, earn the playing time, O'Brien said the Texans would be "very smart" about easing him back into shape.
The Texans concluded OTAs on Friday, and will hold a three-day minicamp starting Tuesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.