The Houston Texans are likely to be without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year for the rest of the 2016 season after J.J. Watt re-injured his back. The team officially placed Watt on injured reserve Wednesday. Watt underwent surgery on Thursday, and he is not expected to be able to return to the field this season, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Watt initially underwent back surgery during the offseason. The recovery lasted into training camp with the Texans placing Watt on the physically unable to perform list at the start of camp. The team, however, activated Watt right before the start of the regular season. Watt not only suited up for Week 1, but played 49 of 57 defensive snaps. The back injury continued to bother him into Week 2 and he was limited in practice leading up to the game. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Watt may have re-injured his back in Week 3 against New England.
Rapoport noted at the time that the Texans were still trying to gather information about the injury, and while the team could choose to return Watt from injured reserve if he recovers, it is unlikely that he will be physically able to play this year. When Watt had surgery in late July to repair a herniated disc in his back, the initial diagnosis was that he would likely need at least six and up to 10 weeks to recover. He returned to practice less than seven weeks later, and is just now hitting the 10-week recovery point from surgery.
Watt's new injury also required surgery, which could again put him on a 6-10 week recovery plan. That would leave open the possibility that Watt could be placed on injured reserve with the possibility of returning late in the season. The Texans, however, do not expect him to return this season. The team does not anticipate any setbacks that would keep Watt off the field in 2017, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Watt was feeling optimistic that he'd be able to bounce back from his latest setback:
Adversity sucks.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) September 28, 2016
Your attitude towards it doesn't have to.
I will be back. pic.twitter.com/56lhtHYs7r
Watt started the first three games of the season, recording 1.5 sacks. He has never missed a game in his career, starting all 88 games including the playoffs. That streak will finally come to an end this week when the Texans host the Tennessee Titans.