Friday, July 22, 2016

J.J. Watt and the knife

It could certainly be argued Houston Texan J.J. Watt is the best defensive end in the NFL. For that matter, it's not much of a stretch to claim he ranks right up there with the best of all time. Only the late Reggie White had more sacks in his first five years than Watt.

Further, such is Watt's revved up "motor" that he is viewed as a team leader. He gets the rest of the guys fired up with his sheer enthusiasm. No doubt about it, Justin James Watt truly loves playing the game of football.

That's what makes his current situation so tough to understand. Watt recently had back surgery to repair a herniated disk. OK, those things can happen to anybody and they're certainly no fun (I had one myself years ago).

Yet given Watt's passion for the game, the timing seems all wrong. Watt had the same injury last year and, to his credit and toughness, played through it.

His 2015 season was over last January -- a full six months ago. It's a given that NFL teams either have on staff or have access to some of the finest medical personnel, including surgeons, in the world. This also includes diagnosticians. They (and Watt) knew exactly what was wrong all the way back to last year. They likely also knew that surgery would be required to properly fix it. Life in the trenches of the NFL isn't exactly a desk job. Injuries are going to get aggravated if the player continues to play. And herniated disks are nothing to fool around with.

So here's the question ---- why did he wait so long to go under the knife?

Had the procedure been done way back in January, he would have been completely healed by now and good to go. After all, training camps will be firing up soon. But now there is much question whether Watt will even be ready to go when the regular season starts. If all goes well, say the docs, it's going to be close.

Ah, but perhaps an ulterior motive lurks. By delaying the operation as he did, J.J. doesn't have to participate in the grind of training camps and the meaningless preseason games. In a perfect world for him, Watt will go back to work when it counts -- the regular season. While his teammates are beating their brains out for the next several weeks, J.J gets to rehab, likely in an air conditioned facility.

A pretty sweet deal, all things considered.

You have to hand it to him. J.J. Watt is not only a phenomenal football player -- a terror while on the field -- it appears he's a pretty slick operator.

So far, nobody has questioned the "timing" of this. The talking heads and fans are only concerned as to whether he'll be ready to go in Game 1.

And hey, if he was good walking around with a herniated disk for 6 months (it couldn't have been THAT bad) in order to skip out on all the drills and practices -- more power to him.

Smooth, but it doesn't necessarily smell right.......

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