Though he was wearing a bag of ice on his right shoulder following Saturday’s 54-0 win over Syracuse, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson said he was not in any pain as he watched the rest of the game from the sidelines in the second half.
“I usually ice it after every game regardless if it is hurting or not,” Watson said. “I don’t have any pain or anything like that so it’s a quarterback thing, a pitcher thing. I kind of always ice it after a game or practice.”
Watson left Saturday’s game after going down on his throwing shoulder following a 13-yard run late in the second quarter.
“It all happened at once. It happened fast. It’s one of those plays where I got tackled and landed on it wrong. It is nothing serious,” he said.
Backup Nick Schuessler came in and finished the drive, which he capped with a five-yard touchdown pass to Artavis Scott with 1:27 to play before halftime.
“He was a guy that was prepared and he was prepared for his opportunity,” Watson said about Schuessler, who was 11-of-17 for 177 yards and two touchdowns. “He wanted it so he went out there and he played ball.”
That gave Clemson a 30-0 lead at the time, and gave head coach Dabo Swinney the idea not to play his star quarterback in the second half if he did not have to. Swinney said Watson could have returned in the second half if they needed him. Obviously that never happened, which has left some to speculate if Watson’s injury is more than just a shoulder bruise, which is what Clemson reported it as.
Watson, who completed 13-of-16 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 39 more yards and another score, decided to take himself out of the game after he missed tailback Tavien Feaster on a throw he normally makes.
After his pass took a nosedive to the turf of Frank Howard Field, Watson pointed to his right shoulder to indicate something was wrong and indicated he was coming out.
“I kind of landed on it. I just needed to come out and make sure. I was being cautious,” Watson said.
The Clemson quarterback said he was not in any pain when he took himself out of the game.
“I just wanted to make sure there was nothing serious or anything like that. I could have finished the drive if I wanted to, but I just did not want anything else to happen,” Watson said.
Watson went back to the locker room with about minute before halftime so, as he said, they could get an early start on what was wrong or if there was anything to it. That’s when team officials diagnosed the injury as a shoulder bruise.
“I’m fine. You always take precaution with your guy. Regardless of how bad or small the injury is you have to be cautious. I’m doing all right,” Watson said.
Watson said he will be ready to practice when the second-ranked Tigers get back on the practice fields on Monday.