"We met as an organization this morning with all of our medical personnel, doctors, trainers. We came to the decision that in the best interest of JD is that we will place him on injured reserve and he will have surgery on his right knee. I will not get into the details of what type of surgery it is or when it is. I just respectfully ask you not to ask those questions." -- Bill O'Brien, Thursday afternoon
Ok, Bill. But honestly, there really aren't any other questions whose answers matter at this point.
The jagged rookie season of Jadeveon Clowney ended with a thud on Thursday afternoon, as the first overall pick's trip to Pensacola to see Dr. James Andrews led to the collective decision from Texans brass and the player himself to go back under the knife, "clean up" his right knee (O'Brien's words), and begin rehabbing for 2015.
Control, alt, delete. And hope for the best.
What this means from a football standpoint for the Texans' final four games is barely a topic because Clowney has been virtually nonexistent on the field this season. Four games, no sacks, seven tackles. Once the follow up procedure is completed, Clowney will have one fewer surgery as a Texan than he will have games played.
As a Texan on the field, Clowney is a ghost, a bit character on the sitcom that is "Texans 2014" who shows up every four or five episodes, the laid back "neighbor downstairs" (with a slight limp). Think Seinfeld's Newman with dreadlocks. Bottom line, it's hard to envision the fireworks show we are all missing with Jadeveon Clowney playing alongside J.J. Watt because we've seen it at full strength for a grand total of about 20 plays.
That's because the moment Clowney's foot hit the turf on that fateful second quarter play against the Washington Redskins (possibly in a groove of the treacherous NRG stadium turf), tearing the meniscus in his right knee, it's been one painful turn after another for the rookie from South Carolina.
And make no mistake, at each of these turns, there are potential points where the organization has possibly (likely?) failed Clowney.
If his injury was indeed caused in some way by the universally scorned pallet puzzle of divots that is the NRG playing surface, the organization failed him.
If the choice to shave his meniscus as opposed to fully repairing it (the former procedure having a shorter recovery time, the latter would've ended his season) was a directive from the staff or front office (or both), then the organization failed him.
If he's having some version of the same procedure redone to "clean up" the knee, then what went wrong the first time? Did the medical staff flat out fail Clowney in the quality of the procedure itself?
If, if, if.
We have no idea the answer to any of these questions because Bill O'Brien and the team won't let anybody ask these questions, so we are left to speculate as to whose fault it is that Jadeveon Clowney's rookie season is one colossal, injury riddled bust, the perfect symbol for a 2014 rookie class that continues a trend of draft classes that are driving the depth chart of this team off a cliff.
And quite frankly, when O'Brien prefaces his Clowney comments with a stonewall on any specifics about Clowney's injury and his upcoming surgery, Texans fans should be livid. They deserve to know exactly what is being done to remedy the issues with the number one overall draft pick's right knee, and they deserve to know exactly how we got here.
This city endured a 2-14 season in 2013, a train wreck to end all train wrecks, and Clowney was supposed to be the consolation prize, a supernatural light at the end of the tunnel who, when paired with J.J. Watt, would transform the Texans' defense into a fearsome tsunami of sacks and quarterback hits.
Instead, the light at the end of the tunnel was an oncoming train.
And after the roster management malpractice the organization committed last year by forking over $5 million guaranteed for Ed Reed without properly vetting his damaged hip, they have no equity left with the fans when it comes to trusting their judgment in these situations. O'Brien can stymie the media all he wants, it doesn't change the bottom line: The most important personnel decision each of the last two off-seasons has ended with the medical staff's competency being called into question.
The shroud of mystery the team chooses to perpetuate only fuels the perception that some sort of negligence has occurred. Give us a doctor laser-pointing at an MRI of Clowney's knee explaining to us exactly what he's dealing with and how you plan to fix it, then the whispers may go away. Until then, the people have a right to be skeptical, frustrated, and pissed off.
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So with all due respect to Bill O'Brien, I will ask: What exactly happened with Jadeveon Clowney? And what's the plan going forward?
How is his knee getting fixed?
Because the people who unconditionally support your team deserve to know.