Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the odds of Texans DE J.J. Watt returning from his back injury this season are “slim.”
The good news, however, is that the Texans believe Watt will be back in time for the 2017 season and there won’t be any long-term concerns about his back moving forward.
This contrasts with a report from Jason Cole of B/R, who mentioned yesterday that the Texans have “serious concerns” about Watt’s back and his ability to play long-term.
Former NFL physician David Chao mentioned that aggravating an issue like this is possible when a player returns early. However, Chao considers it to be a “huge leap” to say that this is a potentially career-ending issue or that he needs to have fusion surgery at some point.
Houston officially placed Watt on injured reserve Wednesday, which will cost him at least the next eight weeks of the season. Although others have said that this very well could be a season-ending injury for him, depending on whether it will require surgery.
Watt underwent back surgery for a herniated disc several months ago but was able to return in time for the start of the regular season. However, it was clear that Watt wasn’t 100 percent healthy yet.
Given Watt’s importance to the Texans, it’s fair to wonder if Watt and the team both pushed him to return from a serious injury too soon.
Watt, 27, is in the third year of his eight-year, $108.88 million contract that includes $51.8 million guaranteed. He stands to make a base salary of $10.5 million for the 2016 season.
This season, Watt has appeared in three games and recorded eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery for the Texans. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 72 interior defender out of 116 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Watt’s injury as the news is available.