SUNDAY, 9:34am: Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (video link) provides a slightly more pessimistic timeline for Watt’s return, suggesting that the star defensive end could be out of commission for 10 weeks. If that were to happen, of course, Watt would miss regular season games.
THURSDAY, 8:55pm: NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport hears that the surgery took place recently and the recovery time is expected to be six to eight weeks (Twitter link).
THURSDAY, 8:38pm: Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has undergone back surgery and will start camp on the physically unable to perform list, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Fortunately, McClain notes that Watt should be ready for the team’s season opener against the Bears. On the flip side, ESPN.com’s Tania Ganguli tweets that we shouldn’t “take those first two games for granted.”
Still, there should be plenty of reason for optimism regarding the 27-year-old. McClain notes that Watt has never missed a regular season game, and although he sat out the 2012 preseason, he still managed to win that year’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Watt also had a number of injuries in 2015, including a broken hand and a sports hernia (an injury which eventually required surgery).
Since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2011, Watt has established himself as one of the league’s premier players. The defensive end has won the past two Defensive Player of the Year Awards, giving him three in his career, and he’s also been named to four Pro Bowls and four First-Team All-Pro teams. Over his 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 RosterResource.com shows, the Texans are rather thin at defensive end. If Watt were to miss time during the regular season, the organization would surely want to add to the current grouping of Christian Covington, Devon Still, and Brandon Dunn.