J.J. Watt 'trending toward playing' in wild-card game vs. Rams
Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals DE J.J. Watt reportedly 'trending toward playing' in wild-card game vs. Rams

Despite being "very limited " in his return to the practice field on Thursday, the latest report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport indicates that Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt could be making his return to game action for Monday's playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams.

After undergoing what was thought to be season-ending shoulder surgery earlier in the campaign, Watt was surprisingly designated to return from the injured reserve list last week. Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury said earlier this week that the five-time All-Pro had "basically done everything humanly possible" in his recovery and training.

Watt played 10 years with the Houston Texans before signing a two-year contract with the Cardinals in March 2021. In seven games this season, Watt recorded 16 tackles, 10 quarterback hits, one sack and one forced fumble.

After beginning his career by playing in 80 consecutive regular-season games over five seasons and making four Pro Bowls and First-Team All-Pro four times, 2021 marked the fourth time in the last six years his campaign has been cut short due to injury. Watt was limited to three games in 2016 and five games in 2017 before bouncing back with a full 16-game season in 2018, in which he made his fifth Pro Bowl and was named First-Team All-Pro for the fifth time.

The Cardinals and Rams will play in the NFC Wild Card round at 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday.

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