J.J. Watt injury update: Texans star could return for playoffs

Sporting News

J.J. Watt could feature for the Texans in the postseason, after initially believing his Week 8 pectoral muscle tear would sideline him until 2020.

Watt was taken off IR and returned to practice Tuesday. While he acknowledged his quick recovery could heighten risk of another injury to his surgically repaired muscle, he said the plan was to play in Houston's first playoff game.

"I feel extremely excited about being able to be back on the practice team with the guys," Watt told reporters. "There's obviously an element of risk involved as well, that I understand, but, to me, the opportunity to play in the playoffs, to try and help this team win football games, there's nothing that I want more. It’s built into me – I want to be on the field with the guys."

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Coach Bill O'Brien revealed earlier this month Watt was making positive steps in his recovery from the upper body injury he suffered in a win over the Raiders, foreshadowing this development.

Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, also missed significant portions of the 2016 and 2017 campaigns with season-ending injuries.

He recorded four sacks, a forced fumble and three passes defended in his eight regular season games this year. His sooner-than-expected return could provide a significant boost to a Houston defense that does not have anyone with more than 7.5 sacks.

At 10-5, the Texans are currently slated to finish as the No. 4 seed in the AFC. They secured a postseason spot with an AFC South-clinching 23-20 road win over the Buccaneers this past Saturday.

Omnisport contributed to this report.

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