The Houston Texans might be without the team’s emotional leader and All Pro defensive end J.J. Watt for longer than any of his teammates or coaching staff originally anticipated, as his ongoing rehabilitation is now believed to potentially cause Watt to miss games this N.F.L. regular season.
The 27-year-old Watt, who ESPN San Antonio noted has been struggling to work his way back into game shape after undergoing back surgery in July, is believed to be looking at a possible Week Three return. Watt went under the knife to repair a herniated disc in his back.
This diagnosis has been reworded by the always blunt J.J. Watt, who recently told Pro Football Talk that he underwent the procedure to clean “a whole bunch of crap out of my back.”
More surprisingly received than Watt’s extended recovery, however, is the new surprising news that J.J. could miss several games this season. This news comes courtesy of ESPN beat reporter Ed Werder, following his conversation with Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien.
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) August 19, 2016
Watt, who is the N.F.L.’s Defensive Player of the Year for three of his first five seasons in the league, was originally projected to have a 10-week recovery time after undergoing the surgery. This new projection regarding Watt’s imminent return would fall right in line with those estimates.
Watt, who many consider to be the best football player in the league, is now a four-time First Team All Pro and has accumulated more than 70 sacks and 15 forced fumbles over the course of his career.
None of that is news to the Texans, who will undoubtedly rely on Watt in order to win games this season A bit more surprising, however, is that Watt – despite his extremely physical level of play – actually has yet to actually miss games in his NFL career.
His recovery from a July surgery, however, paired with the team’s rooting interests in making another playoff run this year, seem to point toward preserving Watt – even should he miss games early – in order to have him healthier in the late Fall as the Texans attempt to take another run at a SuperBowl trophy.
“Watt has a history of playing through pain, as we were reminded when he revealed the significant injury he was dealing with last season,” noted Pro Football Talk’s Darin Gantt. “However, the Texans might want to be careful with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year early in the season. If this was later in the year, Watt would probably be a lock to play.”
The Texans play the Chicago Bears and the Kansas City Chiefs, who eliminated them from the playoffs last N.F.L. season in their first two weeks. Should J.J. Watt be forced to miss two or more games this season, his teammates will undoubtedly miss his defensive capabilities, aggressiveness, and presence in the middle of the field, all of which are regarded as instrumental in allowing the Texans to best pressure their opponent’s quarterback and offense as a whole.
[Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Reebok]