Oh, boy. The rumor that was feared to be true about Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt is no longer a rumor.
Speculation ran rampant on October 7 after Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo reported that Watt had suffered a setback that would delay his return to the field.
At the time, all Fittipaldo had to go on was a gut feeling and observation from covering practice at the Steelers South Side facility.
“I wanna say, last Wednesday, he was out there working,” Fittipaldo said on the Cook & Joe Show. “He was visible at practice and, since then, hasn’t been at practice. I didn’t put eyes on him at the Jets game, so a lot of people are putting two and two together, and I’m in that camp. I think some sort of setback occurred with his rehab. So, I don’t think he’s going to be a candidate to come off I.R. next week, even though he’s eligible.”
Watt tore a pectoral muscle during Pittsburgh’s Week 1 victory in Cincinnati. Since the injury didn’t require surgery as initially thought, his return was expected after six weeks.
The day after Fittipaldo’s news, ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed on October 8 that Watt did suffer a setback. But it wasn’t with the pec rehab. Instead, the All-Pro defender required arthroscopic surgery for a knee injury sustained in the Steelers’ August 28 preseason finale against the Detroit Lions.
Though players are now eligible to return from (short-term) injured reserve after four weeks, Watt’s first game back was anticipated to be around Pittsburgh’s Week 8 battle with the Philadelphia Eagles.
There were still two weeks until Watt’s potential return, so he could still be back in the original timeframe. However, sources of Schefter say that the surgery will likely push it back until after Pittsburgh’s November 6 bye week. “The Steelers will not rush Watt back and will be diligent in monitoring how both his knee and pectoral muscle respond,” Schefter wrote. “The team, however, no longer is counting on Watt to return before the bye week, according to sources.”
The Steelers host the Saints in Week 10 (November 13) before a rematch versus the Bengals on Sunday Night Football (November 20).
Steelers Fan React to T.J. Watt Surgery News
It’s only Week 5, and not all is lost with the Pittsburgh Steelers season. But given the fact that they are winless without T.J. Watt, the near future isn’t looking bright.
@BaddestBearJew tweeted, “TJ Watt taking his time getting healthy is far more important than rushing his return.”
@ay_taybay wants to lend T.J. Watt a helping knee. “Gonna offer up some parts for TJ Watt to help put him back together again,” she tweeted.
@SteelersGangWest asks fans to change his mind about T.J. Watt needing to return before the bye week.
Watt’s brother J.J. Watt has a laundry list of injuries he’s suffered over 11 seasons. @MikeAsti11 hopes that “TJ doesn’t suffer the same fate as JJ with injuries derailing his career.”
This popular SpongeBob meme accurately depicts how Steelers fans are feeling.