By Nick Shook
Read full post on NFL.com
An unexpected quarterback just led his franchise to its first Super Bowl victory.
Houston is hoping it can witness a similar story unfold in the near future.
The franchise’s literal first steps toward glory happened on Monday, when quarterback Deshaun Watson ran on a treadmill for the first time since suffering a torn ACL in the middle of the 2017 season. The dynamic, exciting signal-caller posted video of his light run on an anti-gravity treadmill on Instagram:
The Texans are getting plenty of use out of the treadmill, with fellow star J.J. Watt commemorating a rehab milestone of his own with a video of him running in it in mid-January. Watson’s jog is the most important for the organization, though, with Houston’s hopes riding on his status.
That much was clear when Watson suffered the knee injury in practice, days after he’d engaged in a thrilling shootout with Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. From there, the Texans fell off a cliff, winning just one of their final nine games. Rarely is the difference made by one player so startlingly evident.
Any recovery is important, but Watson’s is paramount because of his style of play, and the assets Houston gave up (a 2018 first-round pick, which is the No. 4 selection) to draft him. In newsroom discussions, our own Jeremy Bergman offered the comparison of Watson to Robert Griffin III, who was scintillating as a rookie before suffering a similar knee injury. Griffin was never the same from there, in part because of a recovery/rehab process that was covered relentlessly and expedited to keep the momentum generated by the quarterback’s play going.
One hopes Watson fares better in his first season after the injury. Those first steps in that high-tech treadmill were important ones.