Ian Rapoport delivered some of Sunday’s most surprising football news, and it was about one of the best defensive players in the league. The NFL Network Insider tweeted Sunday morning that All-Pro Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt could potentially return this season after suffering what Watt himself seemed to suggest was a season-ending pectoral injury.
Watt had tweeted about the injury after it initially happened in late October, and his sentiments seemed to express a sadness about his season being over: “Absolutely gutted that I won’t be able to finish the season with my guys and give the fans what they deserve,” he wrote in the tweet. “I truly love this game and can’t stand letting you guys down. Thank you for all of the thoughts and well-wishes.” Watt tore his pectoral muscle against the Raiders on October 27th, and everyone assumed he was done for the year, particularly after his own tweets.
Prior to the Texans’ huge Sunday night showdown against the New England Patriots, the NFL Network’s Omar Ruiz tweeted that Watt was partaking in his usual pregame routine of playing catch, and Ruiz noted that Watt looked good doing it:
Considering Watt could now return this season, let’s take a look at when that could possibly happen:
J.J. Watt’s Possible Return: Could We See Him in the Playoffs…or Even Sooner?
Rapoport reported Sunday that his sources say 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.” That is quite astonishing, considering Watt may end up only missing a full two months and that’s it.
That’s because Watt could possibly even return Week 17, Rapoport said. Watt is optimistic about his recovery, and is doing “incredibly well in rehab,” Rapoport’s sources have told him. “He may not be himself when he returns, but having some Watt is better than no Watt at all,” Rapoport also noted.
Worst-case scenario, Rapoport said, was Watt could tear his pectoral muscle again after returning to action. If that were to happen, Watt could then have a “relatively routine surgery” and still be good to go for the start of the 2020 season.
Watt’s return this season is not a certainty–although considering this news, the team is likely planning on activating its All-Pro defender before the season is over, but neither the Texans nor Watt have confirmed this yet.
Prior to going down with a torn pectoral muscle this season, Watt had four sacks and 20 quarterback hits in eight games, so his presence alone should make opposing teams have to game plan for him.