Clowney feeling ‘better,’ but status still uncertain

NFL

RENTON, Wash. – Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said the core-muscle injury that sidelined him in Week 12 is feeling better, but he didn’t rule out the possibility it will eventually require surgery.

Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that the Seahawks (9-2) are “counting on” their best pass-rusher making it back in time for Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings (8-3), but that came with a qualifier that Clowney “still has to make it.”

An upbeat Clowney spoke with reporters before practice Friday. He was listed as a non-participant on the team’s first practice report of the week but indicated he was about to participate to some degree Friday.

“I’m feeling better,” he said. “Getting ready to go today. See how it’s going to go.”

The injury stems from the Seahawks’ game against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10, though Clowney couldn’t pinpoint the moment it happened. By the end of Seattle’s overtime win, he said, it was difficult to left his leg. Clowney had his best game of the season with a sack, five quarterback hits, a forced fumble and a touchdown on a fumble recovery.

“I told them I’ll finish this game and see what happens after I’m done,” Clowney said.

Clowney was inactive for the Seahawks’ win over the Eagles Sunday after traveling to Philadelphia early to see Dr. William Meyers, who specializes in core-muscle injuries. Clowney received an unspecified treatment from Dr. Meyers. He said he thought about getting the injury treated over Seattle’s bye the week before but didn’t realize its severity until the team returned from its break on Monday and it wasn’t healed.

Asked about not needing surgery, Clowney said: “Not at this moment I don’t. That’s a good thing. I ain’t too worried about it. I’m feeling better today. Worry about tomorrow when it gets here. Live for today.”

The 26-year-old Clowney has arguably been the Seahawks’ most impactful defender even though he only has three sacks. He ranks fourth in the NFL in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate at 26.6%. That metric, which is powered by NFL Next Gen Stats, measures how frequently a defender beats his pass block in 2.5 seconds or quicker. He’s scored two defensive touchdowns and ranks 13th in the NFL with 35 pressures, according to ESPN charting.

Clowney is unsigned beyond this season and wouldn’t be eligible to sign a new deal with the Seahawks until the regular season ends, per the rules with players who were assigned the franchise tag like Clowney was by the Houston Texans. The Seahawks agreed to not use the tag on Clowney as part of the deal they made to acquire him from Houston right before this season.

Clowney acknowledged that his core injury is something he’ll have to manage the rest of the year.

“Oh yeah. They know that,” he said. “Something we know, but got to finish this thing strong.”

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