"The guy knows the answers," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "Our defense, it’s not always the easiest thing to pick that thing up, especially when you’re not practicing. Clearly, he has good football intelligence. The game will be fast, we understand that. He hasn’t played in a while. I think where he is Xs and Os-wise is in a good place."
Clowney will play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, but he won't be in the full game. O'Brien hasn't yet decided how many plays he'll play, but acknowledged a need to be smart with the player who spent the offseason recovering from December microfracture surgery.
Clowney had two surgeries on his right knee last year. He suffered a lateral meniscus tear in the 2014 season opener and had arthroscopic knee surgery the next day. Clowney attempted to return and play in three other games later that season, but the swelling and pain in his knee were too much. Articular cartilage damage necessitated the microfracture surgery.
After eight months of rehabilitation, Clowney returned to the practice field Aug. 17 and has not had any setbacks since.
"I like where Clowney’s at," O'Brien said. "I think coming back from that injury, I do think there’s a certain day to day concept to him. I think that he’s got to go out there and he’s done that. He’s strung days together, got to go out there again on Wednesday, tomorrow they’re off, and continue to practice and get ready for the Chiefs. I like where he’s at right now."