The Houston Texans five-time Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt was forced to leave Sunday’s game at NRG Stadium with a shoulder injury. Watt left the field with about five minutes remaining in the first half with the 4-3 Texans trailing the 3-3 Oakland Raiders 14-10, according to a Pro Football Talk report. Watt injured his shoulder while making a tackle on Raiders running back Josh Jacobs.
As he attempted to stay in the game, Watt was seen rotating his right shoulder as if to test it for discomfort.
Watt then left the field, first stopping in the medical tent. After a brief examination there, the 30-year-old, nine-year veteran jogged to the Texans locker room, to be examined in greater detail. After initially listing Watt as “questionable” to return, Houston definitively ruled him out of the game before the second half got underway.
Watt left the game with credit for three tackles, including one for a loss of yardage, and one pass defended. The tackle on Jacobs that ended Watt’s day on Sunday was his single tackle for a loss, stopping Jacobs six yards behind the line off scrimmage.
The game was a crucial one for the Texans, with all three other AFC South teams winning their games earlier on Sunday, but the concern over Watt overshadowed the game itself. Watt’s 2019 season so far has been subpar. After an AFC-leading 16 sacks last season, Watt had recorded just four through seven games coming into Sunday’s game against the visiting Raiders.
Watt’s injury may be more serious than it originally appeared, according to former San Diego Chargers team physician David Chao, who now regally comments on NFL injury situations via his Twitter account. According to Chao, Watt may have torn a pectoral tendon in his left shoulder, which could end his season.
Watt was coming off a 2018 season in which he became the first player ever to win the Defensive Player of the Year award four times after winning the ward previously in 2012, 2014, and 2015.
In addition to his 16 sacks, Watt also led the NFL in 2018 with seven forced fumbles. Watt has also won the league’s Player of the Week award seven times, and Player of the Month award six times, according to PFR, as well as his four Defensive Player of the Year awards.
But Watt has been plagued by injuries in his career. In September of 2016, he underwent back surgery that ended his season, according to Bleacher Report, and suffered a tibial plateau fracture — that is, a fracture to the area of the shin just below the knee — in October of 2017.
The injuries limited Watt to just eight games over the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The severity of Watt’s shoulder injury suffered on Sunday remained uncertain as the Raiders vs. Texans game entered the fourth quarter.