Brady Poppinga: Jadeveon Clowney Must Balance Expectations, Tough Recovery

by NESN Staff

June 29, 2015

There’s no doubt the Houston Texans want to see Jadeveon Clowney live up to his status as their No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. But they also likely want the linebacker to do that as soon as possible.

And former NFL linebacker Brady Poppinga said in his latest Football By Football column that’s exactly where Clowney could run into some trouble.

While it’s certainly disappointing that Clowney appeared in just four games in 2014 after needing two separate knee surgeries, the second procedure the 22-year-old underwent — microfracture surgery — is particularly tough to rehab.

“Microfracture surgery amounts to drilling tiny holes — “fractures” — in the lower leg bone plate, allowing blood and bone marrow to seep and form a blood clot, releasing cartilage-building stem cells from the marrow,” Poppinga wrote. “Basically, you’re attempting to rebuild cartilage from scar tissue.

“On big-bodied athletes like the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Clowney, this can be a tricky rehab, as you have to patiently rebuild the new cartilage under the weight of a big frame. Caution in the recovery is of the utmost importance, especially in that the explosiveness in Clowney’s legs is the football asset the team is likely most interested in preserving — the attribute that made him such a highly-touted pick in the first place.”

So, as Poppinga put it, Clowney has to strike the perfect balance between living up to the Texans’ (and NFL fans’) expectations and taking the time to make sure his knee heals properly, which is no easy task.

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Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images

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