QB Deshaun Watson (10.18.23)

­­ You back? Good to go?

“We’ll see. Day to day.”


Are you going to try to practice today?

“It just depends on the medical staff. So we’ll go through this media stuff and go through our treatment stuff. We’ll see where today goes.”


Do you think there’s a chance you could play on Sunday? 

“I think so. It just depends on the process of the medical stuff and the treatment and the rehab that we’re doing day to day. So it’s up in the air for sure.”


What’s the last hurdle here? 

“It’s really just it finishing up…Me, I’m learning through this whole process. So honestly, with the rotator cuff, it’s a difficult thing with throwing a ball then doing just the movement and rotation and mobility stuff. So just really just trying to clean up any lingering pain and any lingering stuff that’s in that rotator cuff.”


Did the injury affect you in the game? I know you didn’t finish the game, but we thought that was because of the scoreboard. So what happened to make it a two-and-a-half-week injury? 

“Well, we didn’t know what it was during the game. The injury–we felt it during the game, but at the time, my adrenaline was going and everything’s kind of flowing so  certain throws was kind of easier. I just kind of dealt with it. You know it was a couple of throws where I felt it, but we didn’t know exactly what it was.”


Deshaun, when we saw you before throwing before the Baltimore game, there was little zip at all on those passes. So how’s your throwing progressed since then? 

“It’s coming along. The arrow has been trending up. So each and every day we’ve just been trying to get better and better and try to get as comfortable as possible.”


Was this a slow diagnosis because you were hoping to play that Ravens game and you couldn’t, and it just seemed like you know, there was a process here to figure out what was going on and the severity and how long you’d have to rest it and stuff like that. 

“Yeah, I mean, we didn’t figure out until that Saturday, the day before the Ravens game. So all week it was just swelling, bruised, and then once the swelling can go down, that’s when we got the MRI, and the MRI came back, and we found out Saturday evening it was a rotator cuff. And usually you sit out. But I told the medical staff as a whole, that we’ll see what happens Sunday morning and let’s try to get there early and work out, and we did that and we couldn’t go.”


Are you concerned that this is going to linger at all this year that’s going to affect your passing through the season, or do you think that you’ll be 100% at some point this year? 

“I’m not sure. This is my first time dealing with a rotator cuff, so I’m just trying to get as comfortable as I possibly can to go out there and perform at the level I know I can. And if I can’t, then we just got to continue to take it day to day. I’m not going to put the team in jeopardy if I can’t do certain things that is going to allow us to be handicapped in certain situations. So that’s the reason why I haven’t been able to step on the field.”


You know what play it was? 

“It was a play on the goal line. It was right before Jerome (Ford) scored.”


So I was told that you won’t be out there until you’re pain-free and until you can throw normally. So is that where the bar is set for you? I mean, are you really going to kind of try to adhere to that and really make sure that you don’t feel any discomfort in the shoulder before you play? 

“No, it’s not so much of the pain. It’s mostly if I can throw the football. The pain I can deal with certain pain tolerance, but if I can’t control the football, I can’t throw the football with no velocity. If I can’t throw the football more than a certain amount of yards, then like I said before, then I don’t want to handicap the team because then I can’t get the ball down field and I can’t get the ball outside the numbers and things like that. So like I said, that was a couple of weeks ago, but the progress and the arrow is definitely upward and we’re just going to continue to just attack it each and every day.”


Have you made any 100% velocity throws yet? 

“It’s just been going day to day. Just every day we’ve been taking steps and making sure we don’t do anything for any setbacks in that throwing shoulder. So whatever the medical staff and the team is allowing me to do, there’s a process in place and there’s a plan, and we’ve been following that.”


How much have you been able to throw over the last week? 

We’ve been trying to just nick at it each and every day. We got to take some days off because you can’t do too much. From what I’ve experienced and what I’ve known from the medical staff, it’s a tricky deal. So you got to kind of take that baseball approach and talk to some people that deals with rotator cuffs more often. So that’s what we’ve been doing and just really trying to strengthen that muscle and everything around it so we can get back comfortable throwing.”


Are you comfortable that once you do get back out there that there’s no risk of further damaging it? 

“Not that I know of. They haven’t mentioned that part to me, so I’m not going to be thinking about that. And that’s another thing. I don’t want to get out there and be hesitant throwing the ball or anything like that. So I’m not going to put myself first in this situation. I’m going to put the team first. And the situation right now is P.J. (Walker) going out there and performing like he did Sunday to help his team win.”


Did you get a second opinion from outside the club? 

“Yeah, we are always on the same page, and from the front office to the head coaching staff to the medical staff, and anybody else that’s on my team outside the building, we all communicated and talked and got on the same page.”


Is there any kind of tear in that rotator cuff? 

“No, I haven’t seen anything or heard anything.”


When you say it like that. So you’ve had MRIs? Everything. No tears, just a bruise?

“It’s a strain. So strain. It’s a micro tear. So it’s like small. It’s basically like getting a cut on the hand, a couple of slashes on the hand of that muscle, and that’s what a micro tear strain for the rotator cuff is.”


Deshaun injuries are going to happen, but this is another stoppage for you, another layoff for you. How frustrating is that? 

“I mean, it’s definitely frustrating. I want to be on the field. We felt like after the Tennessee game, we were getting the ground running for this offense and as all three phases, but it’s part of the game. It comes with it. I got to deal with the adversity and just take it as it come and continue to be a leader as I am and keep helping the guys around me. And when that time come, I can step on the field and go out there and help the team win.”


When you have those micro tears, when it’s strained. Is there any risk that a small tear could become a partial tear, which would require then surgery and you’d be lost for the season? Is that part of your thinking process, that something like that could possibly happen? 

“Not that I know of. They said it wasn’t anything worse than the strain rotator cuff, so I’m not thinking about that and I’m just following the steps, the medical protocols that they want me to follow and hopefully when I step on a field, everything thing goes pretty smooth.


Is it fair to say that you could be back on Sunday if it all goes well, or it could be, say, another month if the recovery just continues to be a little bit slower? Is that a fair way to look at this? 

“Yeah, I mean, it can be any day, it can be tomorrow, it can be Sunday, it can be two weeks from now. I’m not even sure, like I said, day to day and I’m following the steps of the medical team, and when that time is ready, then I’m going to go out there. I can’t put a timeline on anything right now.”


Did they give you a timeline? Because typically you go for exams, they look at you, fine, whatever, and they say, hey, it’s going to take you a week or two to four weeks. Did they give you any type of timeline besides a day to day? 

“No, I mean, it’s just really just day to day. It’s just kind of when it heals on its own. I think that’s the tricky part about it. It’s one of those deals where no different than a sprinter having a hamstring. Just one of those deals where it’s day to day when it heals. From the research I’ve been doing and talking with the staff–I guess rotator cuffs are usually four to six weeks. I’m not sure. Like I said, it’s my first time dealing with it, so I’m just making sure I want to do it right so I don’t have any problems later on.”


Is it all from that hit or is it just the wear and tear of being a quarterback for a long time? 

“No, it was that hit. It was one of the hits where I just cut back. He flashed. He got up underneath me right in that rotator cuff, and I instantly felt it. But at that time, I thought it was just one just a regular football hit. And I finished a game, and we reviewed it, and went through the week of trying to treat it, and got the MRI Saturday once the swelling went down, and that’s when I found out.”


Deshaun, there haven’t been too many quarterbacks, I’ve tried to do some research. I haven’t seen too many quarterbacks with rotator cuff injuries. I saw Drew Brees had one. Have you talked to any other NFL quarterbacks that have dealt with this? 

“No, ma’am. The same boat as you. I was trying to figure out on top of my head who’s dealt with a rotator cuff, maybe AC joints, but I dealt with the AC joint. And you can numb up the AC joint like I did in college, but you can’t numb up the muscle, the rotator cuff that they control. So I’ve seen people around talking about go out there and play. I mean, if I can’t control the ball, then I can’t throw it. You know, there’s no benefit of me being out. You know, those are two [totally] `different injuries. But maybe Drew Brees yeah, that’s the only one. A couple years ago.”


Because it happened on a designed run. When you get back out there, do you think you’ll have to change your style or protect yourself differently?

“I don’t want to, but I definitely got to make sure if I can protect myself, I try to turn my back. That’s how he caught me. Instead of running head up with him, I try to turn and he just caught me. But I don’t want to change the way I play, because that’s the success I’ve had. So I just got to make sure I just try to protect myself as best as I can.”


What type of challenges that Colts defense present? What do you have to worry about? 

“Yeah. I mean, every week since I’ve been out, I’m preparing myself to start. I do the same stuff I’ve been doing each and every week. I don’t try to do anything different. A little extra time on the treatment side. But outside of that, I’m always preparing like I’m going to play. And then Indianapolis presents. I’m used to that team. I know it’s a different defensive coordinator, but just playing in Indy is difficult. The crowd is going to be into it. The defense creates turnovers. The defense is very, they feed off the energy of that stadium, and it’s a great place to play, great environment. So they are led by that linebacker group and up front. And I know they’re young in the secondary, but those guys are going to come and be ready for the challenge, so we got to make sure we’re ready.”


Was it upsetting to you that so many people questioned kind of like your toughness or whether you just decided you didn’t want to play against the Ravens? It seemed like there was just so much of that stuff floating around out there.”

“Yeah of course. You know, I’ve never been the type of guy that’s been questioned about my toughness, but I guess whatever they want to put out, then everyone’s entitled to their own opinions. As long as this locker room and this organization know who I am and what I’m dealing with, then that’s all that matters. All the outside noise, all the other stuff is just, they are feeding off of what is said on social media and all that stuff isn’t real. What is real is in this locker room, and that’s all that matters.”




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