The Houston Texans won their Week 1 game against the Washington Redskins 17-6, but their defense lost a huge player for the next four to six weeks. No. 1 overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney tore his meniscus late in the second quarter and will be sidelined for up to one-third of the season.
The Jadeveon Clowney knee injury isn’t a complete disaster; the Texans still have All-Pro defensive end JJ Watt to anchor their defense. But Clowney’s presence made Houston one of the most imposing defensive one-two punches in the NFL, and they’ll still struggle to fill his absence.
Clowney injured his knee after jumping into the air to try to interrupt a pass from Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (RG3). He landed awkwardly on his right leg and immediately left the field upset.
Clowney proceeded to the locker room with Texans trainers and was ruled out for the second half.
Following the game, doctors identified Clowney’s injury as a torn meniscus. The outside linebacker had arthroscopic surgery the next day to repair the damage. He was then ruled out for four to six weeks.
According to various reports, the Jadeveon Clowney knee injury occurred when the former SEC co-defensive player of the year stepped into a hole on the Texans’ home playing field. It’s not the first time the playing surface has been blamed for injury.
In 2010, Wes Welker suffered a torn ACL and MCL as the Patriots played in Houston, with Bill Bellichick attributing the injury to the playing surface. In 2012, former punter Brett Hartmann filed a lawsuit claiming he suffered a torn ACL because the field was unsafe. And just over one month ago, soccer team AC Milan protested the condition of the field at NRG Stadium and almost didn’t play its exhibition game.
Before he left the game, Clowney had one tackle for a loss of nine yards on a reverse to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. His play was obviously encouraging particularly considering he was limited during the preseason.
Clowney missed the first few days of the Texans’ training camp while recovering from sports hernia surgery in June. He then suffered a concussion in a scrimmage against the Broncos and missed the Texans’ last two preseason games. Sunday’s home opener was essentially his coming out party.
Now it looks like that was a pre-func, as the full party won’t get going until sometime between Weeks 5 and 7.