Jadeveon Clowney says he's ready to return for Texans


Jadeveon Clowney appears ready to make his return to the Houston Texans.

The No. 1 overall pick told reporters Thursday he'd be surprised if he doesn't play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Clowney has been sidelined since the second half of Week 1 with a knee injury. Clowney said the knee is still sore, but he plans to "push through it."

Clowney underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the knee in September. He was a game-time decision for Monday night's tilt against the Pittsburgh Steelers but did not play

If Clowney does return, it will be interesting to see how Texans coach Bill O'Brien uses his high-profile rookie. Whitney Mercilus is coming off a two-sack night against the Steelers and has played well in Clowney's absence at weakside outside linebacker.

O'Brien called Mercilus one of the "more improved guys" on Houston's roster this season.

"When J.D. comes back, he'll have to work back into the mix," O'Brien said Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle. "That's not just something that's going to be handed to him, that's for sure. Whitney's played well enough to deserve playing time, that's for sure, and that'll be a competition."

"You don't just hand it to a guy coming off of six weeks being out, especially when the other guy has played pretty well," O'Brien added.

This is a luxury for O'Brien to be dealing with -- but also a touchy situation when you're talking about the first overall pick in the draft. Clowney has to play, but O'Brien has to win games.

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