Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt played through a number of significant injuries and ailments during the 2015 season -- including a potentially devastating staph infection.
Watt wrote in The Players' Tribune that a team trainer noticed "some weird bumps on my knee" and recognized an infection that, if undiagnosed, could have resulted in the loss of his leg.
The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year was no stranger to injuries during that troubled season, but failed to miss a game despite being plagued by a broken hand, two torn abs, three torn adductor muscles and a herniated disc on two occasions.
"That was my 2015 season. Believe it or not, the scariest was probably the staph infection," Watt wrote.
Upon asking the trainer for some cream in what he perceived was a rash, the trainer instructed the player to visit the hospital immediately.
"I thought he was joking at first. But then I could see in his face that he was serious and actually a bit panicked," Watt wrote. "As it turned out, he saved me in a big way. At the hospital, they immediately put me on three hours of the strongest antibiotic IVs. I went straight from the hospital to the team plane and we flew to Jacksonville.
"Once we landed, there were two more hours of antibiotics that night and two more the next morning before the game. The medicine had completely drained me, but I played -- and we won."
This season has been more of the same in terms of injury, as Watt was sidelined after aggravating a back injury in Houston's lackluster 27-0 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 3. He was put on injured reserve prior to Week 4.
Watt, 27, managed only eight tackles and 1 1/2 sacks through three weeks this season. It was a significant drop-off from last season, when he recorded 17 1/2 sacks and three forced fumbles en route to his third Defensive Player of the Year honor. He also captured the award in 2012 and 2014, finishing with 20 1/2 sacks and four forced fumbles each year.
Watt, Houston's 2011 first-round pick (11th overall) out of Wisconsin, has 76 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and one interception in 83 games, all starts.