Injuries have relegated the world's most dominant defensive football player to just eight games in two years. Almost seven months after suffering a brutal left tibial plateau fracture, J.J. Watt is on the mend.
"I feel great," Watt said, via the team's official website. "I feel very good. I mean, I'm not going to put any percentages on it or anything."
Following his third Defensive Player of the Year award in 2015, Watt dealt with a back injury that swiped all but three games in 2016. He played in just five matches last season and failed to record a sack for the first time in his career.
At 29 years old, after losing most of two seasons to two injuries that can lead to chronic problems, it's fair to ponder whether we've seen the peak of Watt's powers.
The most destructive defensive lineman of his era knows that actions speak louder than words on his comeback.
"Like I said earlier in the offseason, I could tell you I'm feeling unbelievable (or) I could tell you I'm feeling super (bad) -- you won't know until I hit the field," Watt said. "Just show up to training camp, watch how I play and then you can decide for yourself how I look."
Watt's had help in his recovery and found motivation from his girlfriend, Kealia Ohai, a member of the Houston Dash soccer team who returned from a torn ACL.
"She's been a huge inspiration to me," Watt said, per the Houston Chronicle. "Not only seeing her rehab and seeing her go through everything and being able to get back on the field and play the game she loves, but also her helping me through mine. She was so incredible. For two months after my surgery with my knee, I couldn't walk, I couldn't stand up. I couldn't do anything.
"She had to literally help me do everything from showering to eating to cleaning up. And she was there through every piece of it while she was still rehabbing herself. I think I couldn't be more thankful to have someone who's so special to me and willing to help me go through all that while she was still going through stuff of her own I'm very lucky."
Watt's been running and lifting weights and should be on track to participate in training camp. If the demolition man returns to his destructive ways, Houston's defense could be one of the nastiest in the AFC.