On Friday, O'Brien said the team has not considered shutting down Clowney for this season "at this point." The rookie has played in just four games this season after injuring his knee in the second quarter of the season opener. He underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear the next day.
Clowney has struggled to regain his explosiveness in the weeks since returning from the surgery.
"Like I said two weeks ago, part of it is just being unlucky," O'Brien said. "He's had a year here that's been tough for him as far as injuries go. He's had the hernia at the beginning of the year, he had the concussion in the Denver game, he's had the knee he's dealing with for all of the year.
"He's played some, sometimes he hasn't been able to play. So I think we've got to continue to manage it and communicate with him as to how he feels and just stay on that road right now."
With the Texans all but out of playoff contention, shutting Clowney down for the rest of the year could be the logical decision. The organization has to be thinking long-term with their No. 1 overall pick.