Watt went down in the first quarter of the Houston Texans’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, collapsing when his left knee buckled as he rushed the passer. As Houston fans watched, some in tears, Watt himself grew emotional when he was unable to put weight on the leg and was helped to the sideline, then carted off and taken to a hospital by ambulance.
The diagnosis? A fracture of the tibial plateau, the top of the shin bone where it articulates with other bones within the knee joint. Watt will require surgery and it is imperative that the surface of the plateau be made as smooth as possible, according to Dr. James Gladstone, the orthopedic surgeon and co-chief of sports medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Although Gladstone has not treated Watt and the extent of Watt’s injury has not been made public, he told The Post in an email that there can be tears of the anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate or collateral ligament, but those are less common. “The biggest issue is how severe and shattered the surface of the plateau is,” Gladstone wrote. “Since this is the articulating surface of the knee, it is critical to get it back as smooth as possible.”
The injury is more common, he said, “in higher energy injuries such as skiing or car racing. As we know ligament tears are more common in football. However it all depends on the way you fall in the forces acting on the knee at the time of the fall.”
For Watt and Texans fans in the Houston area, the injury has other significance because, at 28, he has become one of the NFL’s marquee players and a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He became an inspirational civic leader when Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Houston area. Hoping that with $100,000 of his own money as a base, a little online drive could raise money for relief and recovery, he ended up raising more than $37 million. If he was beloved before, he’s something else now. His tweet about “this city” recognized that this season was always about more than football.
“I feel terrible for the guy,” Texans Coach Bill O’Brien said. “Just knowing the type of guy that he is, he’s an amazing human being. He’s an amazing human being and he will work extremely hard to be back, to be back to play for this football team. I know that.”
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