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Packers WR Christian Watson hoping to put hamstring injuries behind him with work on leg strength 'symmetry'

After missing almost half of the 2023 season due to a lingering hamstring injury, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson was looking for answers.

And it looks like he's found them.

The 25-year-old wideout visited the University of Wisconsin, Madison this offseason to work with researchers who study hamstring injuries in elite football players, hoping to determine the underlying cause of his recurrent injury issues.

Watson said at OTAs this week that he learned much of his problem could be attributed to asymmetry in the strength of his legs.

His right leg, the one that had the prolonged injuries, had a 20 percent difference in strength at the time, which Watson said can cause a whole host of problems, especially when a player isn't able to fully recover strength after an initial injury.

"For me, it really was the asymmetry between the legs," Watson said, via ESPN. "It comes from a lot of things. Obviously, the issues I've had in the past with hamstrings, not fully recovering from those strength-wise. So I've just been attacking the strength side of it, trying to get that symmetry back and it's been huge for me. I've been feel really, really good, just gotta continue grinding at it."

A 2022 second-round pick of the Packers, Watson missed three games in his rookie year with a hamstring injury designation, though he was still able to finish with 41 catches for 611 yards and seven TDs, averaging 14.9 yards per reception.

It was in his sophomore season where he started missing extended time due to those persistent injuries.

Watson was inactive for the opening three games of 2023, though he was able to play in the next nine contests, amassing 28 catches for 422 yards and five TDs. But the hamstring injury returned, keeping Watson off the field for the final five games of the regular season.

He was available for the Packers' postseason run, but had only limited contributions, with one catch apiece in Green Bay's two playoff games.

"I was obviously a little bit down in my right leg [compared] to the left," Watson said. "One, it puts strain on the left side, and the left is going through a lot more. And then two, obviously when you're trying to be equal in power, it obviously puts a lot more stress on the one that's not as strong. So that's been the No. 1 thing for me because that leads to fatigue as well. It's a bad place to be, so obviously that's been my No. 1 goal to just kind of eliminate that."

At this point, Watson said his leg difference is closer to 10 percent, and he hopes to get it even smaller with continued work. If he can sustain that level of health through the offseason and into the fall, that would certainly be welcome news for those who want to see what the young wideout is capable of over a full season as the WR1.

"I definitely feel like I'm at 100 percent, just in terms of what I'm able to do on the football field right now," Watson said. "But I mean there's still a little bit of asymmetry there, and that's just something that I'm attacking with the training staff in the weight room. But it's not enough to hold me back from anything, obviously just got to continue to get that right so there's not any risks in the future.

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