J.J. Watt has waited a long time to get back on the field with the Houston Texans.

And now that he’s going through training-camp practices and getting ready to play in Wednesday’s preseason-opener against the Carolina Panthers, the All-Pro defensive end is brimming with optimism. He isn’t only excited about having recovered from the back injury — and subsequent surgery to repair a herniated disk — that caused him to miss most of last season.

‘There’s going to be a lot of great things ahead’

He’s also looking forward to returning to the form that allowed him to become a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

“It’ll be a lot of fun,” Watt told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on the SiriusXM NFL Radio training camp tour stop at Texans’ camp. “There’s going to be a lot of great things ahead. I’m very fortunate, I’m looking forward to it. My body feels great, I feel great. The practices have been going really well, so I’m really looking forward to playing some games, getting back out there, and being the player I expect to be.

‘We have a really good team, a really good group of guys’

“It’s fun to have a group of young guys who are really itching to learn, too. And that’s what we have here, is we have a really good team, a really good group of guys and they’re all wanting to learn, so it’s fun to be able to help out, even when I’m not out there.”

But for all of his enthusiasm, Watt intends to be sensible and not do anything that would result in re-injury, which is what he did in Week 3 of 2016 after playing most of 2015 and beyond with tears to his torso and groin muscles, and a herniated disk.

‘I just try and do what they say and whenever they do let me out of the cage, I kind of go out there and then really let it fly’

“I’ve learned a lot over my career to really kind of trust the plan that (the medical staff) put in place,” Watt said. “In the past, I may have been chomping at the bit and getting in their ear a lot and really try to get out there every single day. And I’ve learned that all that does is wear me out. I just try and do what they say and whenever they do let me out of the cage, I kind of go out there and then really let it fly.”

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