The NFL, in an attempt to make the Pro Bowl and the week leading up to it somewhat compelling, added a slew of skills challenges to the list of events. NFL players will engage in feats of skill, like a power relay, a best hands challenge, a precision passing challenge and, yes, even dodgeball.
As I was reading this little bit of news, all I could think of was one thing — please tell me Jadeveon Clowney is going to be staying far, far away from any of these events. The third-year linebacker earned his first Pro Bowl trip after a season in which he had six sacks and a league-leading 17 tackles for loss, and established himself as the non-Watt standard bearer for the Texans defense. It was also his first healthy season, and God knows the last thing he needs to do is wind up under the knife because he tweaked a knee playing goddamn dodgeball at the Pro Bowl.
Well, as it turns out, we won't need to worry about that, as Clowney cut out the "Pro Bowl middle man," and went directly under the knife recently, undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee, which will obviously keep him out of Sunday's Pro Bowl (and its adjunct reindeer games). John McClain of the Houston Chronicle was the first to report Clowney's surgery.
If you felt a Pavlovian urge to vomit upon hearing Clowney's name in the same sentence as "knee surgery," it's okay. That's the correct reaction, as multiple procedures on his RIGHT knee imploded Clowney's rookie season in 2014. It started with a meniscus tear in his first regular season game as a rookie (a tear that may or may not have been caused by the old tray system of grass turf at NRG Stadium), after which Clowney had surgery that kept him out several weeks. He returned for a few games, but pain in the same knee led to the decision for Clowney to undergo microfracture surgery. His rookie season was done after just four games.
Fortunately, this appears to be far less serious, as multiple sources report that this scope was more of the "clean-up" variety than to address any specific tears or maladies in that knee. Clowney shouldn't miss any of the team's offseason activities.
In addition to being selected for the Pro Bowl, Clowney has been named 2nd team AP All Pro and 1st team All-NFL by the Pro Football Writers Association. He will enter the fourth and final year of his rookie contract next fall, but the team will likely choose to exercise an option for a fifth year in early May.
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