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J.J. Watt played with a herniated disk last season

HOUSTON -- We knew part of what J.J. Watt was dealing with last season as he earned his third defensive player of the year award.

But in addition to the broken left hand that had him playing with a club cast and a significant groin injury that required surgical repair, Watt also played with a herniated disk, he told SportsRadio 610 this week.

"Last year was definitely by far the most strenuous on my body that I've ever had, fighting through a whole bunch of things that I've never dealt with before," Watt told the station. "We had the broken hand. I had a herniated disk in my back halfway through the year. I had, obviously, everything that went on with my groins and I don't think everyone fully understands what that process was like."

Watt only appeared during one week on the injury report with the back injury -- Week 8 against the Titans. He missed Wednesday's and Thursday's practices due to the injury and then was limited Friday. There was never any doubt Watt would play, though, and he had five tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in that game.

The hand injury had the most visible impact on Watt's season. He still won the league's sack title, with 17.5 sacks, but the club that encased his fingers for three games affected his ability to properly grab opponents. He had only one sack during those three games, but once the cast came off he finished the season with a three-sack campaign against the Jaguars.

His groin surgery took place the week after the Texans' season ended, and Watt is back to his regular workouts.

"I'm doing pretty darn well," Watt told the radio station. "I feel really good. I'm back to full-fledged training. Obviously, I'm working to get back to my 100 percent tip-top shape. I am back to my full workouts, I'm back to everything. So now it's just building back to what I was and going above and beyond that, which I will be at by the first game of the season."