Texans star rusher J.J. Watt has re-injured his back and is expected to miss a significant amount of time, and could potentially be done for the year, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The Texans officially placed Watt on IR Wednesday morning. Houston hopes he will return this season, but a source told Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link) that the odds are not good.
Losing one of the best — if not the best — player in the NFL for any amount of time will be devastating to Houston’s chances this season, and that may be an understatement. Watt underwent back surgery over the summer, and though he hasn’t missed any action, he hasn’t been his usual dominant self, as he’s ranked just 72nd among interior defenders in 2016, per Pro Football Focus.
Watt, 27, has never missed a regular season game in his five-year career. In each of the last four seasons, Watt has earned Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selections, solidifying himself as one of the most terrifying defensive players in the league.
Over his firsrt five seasons in the league, Watt has averaged 74 tackles, 15 sacks, and nine pass defended per season. In 2015, he finished with 76 tackles, 17.5 sacks, eight passes defended, and three forced fumbles. As Roster Resource shows, the Texans’ defensive end group outside of Watt includes Jadeveon Clowney, Joel Heath, Devon Still, Christian Covington, and Brandon Dunn. If Watt misses significant time, they may want to pick up a DE.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.