The Houston Texans have found themselves in the thick of the playoff race with just five more games left in the season. The Texans have ventured in the last several games without the services of star defensive end J.J. Watt due to a torn pectoral that resulted in being placed on the injured reserve in late October. However, there has been a significant update on his recovery process from the injury.
J.J. Watt’s injury
The Texans heading into the 2019 season had much optimism about their prospects, which was especially the case for Watt as he was coming off a career-resurgent campaign where he tallied 16.0 sacks and career-high seven forced fumbles.
Through the first eight games of the year, the 30-year-old struggled to produce at the same elite level, tallying just four sacks and a forced fumble. Things were sent tumbling south as he suffered a torn pectoral in the win over the Oakland Raiders that led to being placed on the injured reserve.
Although the team didn’t immediately put him on the season-ending reserve, the assumption is that they would be without him for the rest of the year for the third time in the last four years. However, there now appears to be some forward momentum that may not be the case after all for the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
J.J. Watt returning in 2019?
Over the last few years, injuries have been a common thread for Watt as he has missed 27 games over the previous four seasons.
He has been sidelined for the previous three contests this season. Still, there is now some building optimism that he could be back on the field by the playoffs with a slim chance it could see him available for the season finale against the Tennessee Titans, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Sources say that Houston is saving its final injured reserve/designated to return spot for Watt, and that there is real optimism from all parties that he can return for the playoffs. Yes, Watt could be back just three months or earlier after tearing his pec.
There may be some encouraging developments with Watt’s recovery. Still, the team remains on the precautionary side of things given the type of injury and his history of ailments over the last few years. At that same token, the Texans have continued to keep a spot open for him just in case he’s able to make it back to the field.
Watt still has plenty of hurdles to get past first, but it’s clear that both sides are quite optimistic that he could be back on the field at some point this year.
Texans’ outlook for rest of 2019 season
Houston had entered the year hoping to build of their success from the previous campaign that saw them capture the AFC South title for the third time in the last four years.
However, the Texans have struggled to find consistency that has put them with just a one-game lead for the division heading into Week 13 action against the New England Patriots. It’s a huge opportunity for Houston to make a statement at home on Sunday night in primetime against the defending champs.
Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson has proven to be one of the league’s rising stars. Another matchup against Tom Brady could bring out the most from him to hand the Patriots their second loss of the season.
If the Texans hope to make the most of Watt’s potential return, they will have to finish the final stretch of the regular season strong to capture another playoff berth.