The extent of J.J. Watt's injury was one seen in motorcycle accidents.
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt remains out for the rest of the 2017 season after he suffered a tibial plateau fracture in the 42–34 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5 of the season.
On Friday, Watt shared a video of himself walking without crutches for the first time in months.
Watt has been named the 2017 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year alongside Jose Altuve. Watt earned the honor for his work in raising more than $37 million for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Watt was profiled by Robert Klemko in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. He details that doctors determined the extent of Watt's injury was only seen in motorcycle wrecks.
"When he’d hit the turf it set off a sort of explosion below his knee. Faced with the same sort of trauma, the typical professional athlete’s anterior cruciate ligament would have simply ruptured under the strain, doctors said. For someone of Watt’s fitness, that’s a six-month recovery process. But his ACL was too strong, they said, and the ligament refused to buckle, transferring the pressure throughout the knee, shattering the bone and cartilage. The great irony was that Watt’s maniacal devotion to strengthening his ACL—the single ligament that most often shortens careers—transformed what would have been a relatively routine injury into a uniquely devastating one.
"The top part of my leg basically got pulverized,” Watt says. “It was in a whole bunch of different pieces."
Watt's last two seasons have been injury plagued. He missed 13 games of the 2016 regular season due to a back injury.