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Texans' Bill O'Brien: Deshaun Watson 'ahead of schedule' in rehab

MOBILE, Ala. -- Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson continues to be "ahead of schedule" as he rehabs his torn right ACL, and coach Bill O'Brien said Wednesday that he's hopeful Watson will be able to participate in at least some drills during the Texans' organized team activities.

"He's working hard to get back and I know he's ahead of schedule," O'Brien said. "I'm hoping ... that he can at least maybe participate in 7-on-7 [drills]. Maybe not team drills, but [maybe] he can do 7-on-7s or one-on-ones and things like that. But we'll see."

OTAs begin in mid-April and go until mid-June. Watson was originally given a timeline of eight to nine months for his rehab from early November surgery, which would have put him on the field in time for training camp. Watson tore his ACL on a non-contact drill during practice.

"He's in there every morning. He's got a smile on his face," O'Brien said. "I think it's one day at a time with him."

The coach says he thinks it has been a little bit easier for Watson as he rehabs because he has been through this before. The quarterback tore the ACL in his left leg during his freshman season at Clemson.

"He's been through it before with the other knee, so I think he has an idea of the rehab process," O'Brien said. "I think that's big. When you've already gone through it once, whereas if it's the first time, everything’s a little bit new. Now he just knows. He knows his own body and so he's working hard to get back."

Even if Watson can't return to the field for OTAs -- or is only able to participate in a limited capacity -- just having him in the meeting rooms would be a big asset for the Texans, according to O'Brien.

"Deshaun [is] rehabbing, but he's still able to watch tape, he's still able to watch all of his plays, watch other teams in the division, watch other teams around the NFL [and] other quarterbacks," O'Brien said. "He's able to be in the meetings in OTAs. Even if he can't be on the field, he'll be in all the meetings, he'll be out on the field watch and things like that if he can't participate.

"That's why guys take big jumps, I think, in their second year, because they're able to have a lot more time to study."