Imagine J.J. Watt with a good elbow

Once he’s played a couple games, every guy in the league is nicked up at least to a small degree.

Managing injuries and playing at less than full strength is part of the job description for an NFL player.

But typically if he’s dealing with something serious, it hurts his production.

So it's rather incredible that J.J. Watt says the elbow he dislocated in the preseason last year was an issue all season.

With a braced arm, he still recorded 20.5 sacks, regularly dominated games and won defensive player of the year in a rout.

The Houston Chronicle’s John Brannen shared this from an interview Watt did on Sports Radio 610:

“In the beginning, it definitely affected me. All the ligaments in there were torn, they were all gone, so they had to have time to recover and regroup. So obviously, I wasn’t at full strength. The brace helped a lot, but it was more of a mental thing, getting over the thought process of knowing that it was injured and making sure that I could still have confidence in it. As the season went on, I got more and more confidence in it and obviously, it didn’t hinder me too much; I had some success out there. But (I’m) looking forward to a 100 percent full healthy season.”

Offensive linemen and quarterbacks who face him are not looking forward to a 100 percent healthy season for Watt.