Over the last few weeks, there has been the growing notion that Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt could make his return to the field this season. Watt has been sidelined since October due to a torn pectoral muscle, which landed him on the injured reserve, but the team left the door open for him to return. The Texans remain optimistic about the situation as he plays a significant part in their defense as their biggest factor on that side of the ball. With all that in mind, Houston has made a significant decision regarding his fate for this season.
J.J. Watt’s injury history
There is doubt that Watt is one of the best players in the league when healthy, but it has been his battle with injuries throughout his career that have plagued him.
He has suffered a slew of ailments that include elbow dislocation, abdominal tear, back vertebral disc hernia, leg fracture, finger dislocation, hand fracture, and, most recently, the torn pectoral. Watt has pushed through these injuries, but it has significantly impacted his availability on the field over the years. That has been particularly the case over the last four seasons as he has missed 31 regular-season games over that span.
Despite all of that, Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, five-time Pro Bowler, and five-time First-Team All-Pro selection. His bounce-back performance last year also proved that he still has plenty left in the tank to play at an elite level. That was echoed much louder by his speedy recovery from the pectoral injury.
J.J. Watt taken off the injured reserve
It has been a promising past few weeks for Watt as he has continued to make progress in his recovery from the torn pectoral muscle.
That created much buzz around him, potentially being able to come back this season from a significant injury. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Watt was taken off the injured reserve and has a chance to play in the playoffs.
The Texans now have a 21-day window to decide on whether they will activate the star defensive end for postseason play. Nonetheless, it’s quite a remarkable step forward for Watt as he’s working his way back just eight weeks after surgery from an injury that typically takes three to four months to heal fully.
It’s quite a remarkable feat that only speaks to the type of athlete he is and the hard work he has put in to get to this point. The ball is now in the Texans’ court to choose what they will do with the Pro Bowler.
What to expect from J.J. Watt in the playoffs
Watt looks well on his way to make his return to the field for the playoffs, which would give him just about two weeks to get his body ready to play.
The Texans will likely operate cautiously, given that he is about one to two months ahead of schedule in his recovery from the injury. If he were to play, it could see him on a snap count to best utilize him in postseason action as he gets his legs under him.
Watt has been a critical part of the Texans’ defense as the team ranks 15th in quarterback pressure percentage (26.6%), according to Next Gen Stats. His presence alone will bring an added element against the pass that will be important in postseason action.
These next several days will be crucial for Watt to prove that he’s physically ready to go, and if he’s able to do that, it provides the Texans with a much-needed late-season boost.