The Houston Texans keep showing they have little regard for the health of quarterback Deshaun Watson, but this was questionable even by their standards. According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, Watson’s rib and lung injury is bad enough that flying from Houston to Jacksonville was a bad idea. They had him ride a bus instead.
But facing off against the Jaguars defense was less risky, for some reason. Fortunately for Watson, the Jaguars defense wasn’t having its best day.
Watson sat on a bus for 12 hours to go from Houston to Jacksonville. He apparently made the best of it, at least.
“It was smooth,” Watson said after the game. “We just kind of hung out. I was cool with it. Whatever it took for me to be here with my teammates and do what I do.”
Watson, 23, should be the cornerstone that the Texans build around for at least a decade, but they seemed determined to squeeze every bit of football out of him before he turns 25.
Why would the Texans keep Watson away from flying?
Anybody who’s ever had their ears pop on an airplane knows there’s some drastic air pressure changes that come with getting tens of thousands of feet off the ground.
For most, it’s harmless, but for someone who some rib and lung injuries, it could be dangerous. Especially if that person has a pneumothorax — or collapsed lung. The Texans have been vague about Watson’s injury, but if his lung is or was even partially collapsed, it’d make sense for the team to be worried about putting him in a plane.
Even if a partially collapsed lung isn’t the problem, any kind of internal bruising or rib injury could also be negatively affected by the pressure changes. The Texans are probably playing it safe with a bus ride.
But he probably shouldn’t be playing, right?
You’d think the Texans would want to keep a player such a concerning injury away from 300-pound pass rushers, but it didn’t come back to bite them Sunday.
A Jaguars defense known for tormenting quarterbacks only managed to sack him once during the Texans’ 20-7 win. Watson didn’t have to do too much, throwing for 139 yards and a touchdown.
In the first six weeks of the 2018 season, Watson was sacked 25 times and hit 70 times. No other team allowed 50 hits.
Some of the punishment absorbed by Watson has been his own fault, but Bill O’Brien and the Texans offensive line deserves the lion’s share of the blame. After the game O’Brien brushed off questions about Watson’s health.
Bill O’Brien said he Deshaun Watson’s bus travel to Jax isn’t “a huge deal,” and he declined to comment further. Says the #Texans QB is “sacrificing a lot.”— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) October 21, 2018
Trotting the quarterback out to face the Jaguars defense could’ve been a recipe for disaster, but it appears Watson got out of Jacksonville without taking any further damage.
His bus riding days appear to be over
Watson doesn’t have a ton of time between games — the Texans face the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football in Week 8. But that game is in Houston, so the team doesn’t have to worry about getting him to the game.
The next road trip is a Week 9 game against the Denver Broncos on Nov. 4, and the Texans already anticipate having Watson on the team flight to Colorado.
Asked whether Deshaun Watson's travel plans will be determined week-by-week, Bill O'Brien said no. Most info seems to suggest no air travel w/ the QB's injuries for two weeks, which would mean he could fly to Denver for the #Texans Nov. 4 game vs. Broncos— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) October 22, 2018
If the Texans offensive line continues to give up hits at a ridiculous pace, things could always get worse. But Watson’s road trip to Jacksonville ended up working out well for Houston.