J.J. Watt plans to be 'very smart' to avoid injury risk this season

HOUSTON -- As the Houston Texans started their offseason program on Monday, defensive end J.J. Watt said he feels like he's in the right place physically and mentally and that he's ready to be back on the field again.

"I feel very good," Watt said. "My body feels really good so I'm really looking forward to this whole offseason process and OTAs and just getting back to just playing football. I think that's the biggest thing. I just want to play football."

Watt said any physical limitations on what he can do this offseason as well as once the season starts will be up to the Texans' coaches and training staff, but that he will be smarter about the number of reps he takes going forward.

"I think they'll probably put some sort of plan in place just to limit overall reps throughout the season," Watt said. "Obviously there's a ton of reps during the season, the game reps being the most important ones, the ones that affect the result. But it mostly comes down to my workouts and making sure that I'm very smart in my workouts ... creating a plan where I don't put myself at risk."

"You can't really control what happens on the field. What I can control is my workouts. I can control what I'm doing in the weight room and what I'm doing on the practice field to make sure that I limit all of those risks. So that's what we control. We control the things we can control and then you go out there and you play and you just let it fly and obviously hope for the best."

In 2016, Watt had surgery on his back in late July, but was back on the field for the regular-season opener just more than a month later. After the Texans' Week 3 loss to the New England Patriots, the Texans put him on injured reserve after he re-aggravated the injury. Watt missed the rest of the season and said going through the recovery for the surgeries has taught him that he needs to make sure he is not doing too much.

"I'm very, very excited, there's no question about that," Watt said. "You're away from the game for a year, like I've said many, many times before it reaffirms how much you love it, how passionate you are about it, how badly you want to go out and play with your teammates and just enjoy the game.

"But I've also learned a lot over that time of where I need to make sure that I balance myself and not get overly crazy in the offseason and things like that. So I think it's been a really good time for me but it's definitely time for me to start playing some football again, that's for sure."
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