NEW YORK — For J.J Watt, 2018 can’t come soon enough.
That's not to say the four-time Pro Bowler hasn't stayed busy during his injury layoff. Since suffering a broken leg in Week 5, Watt raised more than $37 million in relief funds following the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, an effort Watt says he was "honored" to play a part in.
But when it comes to football, there’s only one thing on his mind.
“All of us guys, all we want to do is get back on the field," Watt told USA TODAY Sports, speaking ahead of being honored at the 2017 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Awards.
The three-time NFL defensive player of the year underwent surgery following his tibial plateau fracture sustained in the Texans' 42-34 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in October. He does about four hours of rehabilitation daily, and says he feels himself making progress.
Nevertheless, Watt says the most important element of his recovery is staying positive. It's not always easy -- "I am devastated," he tweeted after his injury -- but he sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
"All of us in rehab, we're all looking ahead to 2018," Watt says. "Taking it one step at a time, making sure we stay positive so we can hit it hard next season."