It sounds like J.J. Watt‘s shoulder injury will likely cost him the rest of the season. The Cardinals pass-rusher will undergo shoulder surgery that will likely end his season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Watt injured his shoulder during Sunday’s win over the Texans, but there was hope that the veteran would only miss weeks, not months. Instead, Watt’s upcoming surgery will likely sideline him for the rest of the 2021 campaign. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the recovery time is expected to take at least three months, which would bring us to late in the postseason. That slightly leaves the door open for a Watt return (especially considering his past ability to recover quickly), but no one should be hanging their hat on that scenario. Per Schefter, the surgery has yet to be scheduled.
Watt’s stint with the Texans ended this offseason, and he proceeded to ink a two-year, $28M deal with the Cardinals. So far, that investment has been worth it for the team, as Watt has played a major role in guiding Arizona to a 7-0 record and a top-five defense. Through seven games, the 32-year-old has collected 16 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, five tackles for loss and 10 QB hits. Despite his injury, he managed to finish Sunday’s win, but he was limited to a season-low 30 snaps on defense.
Injuries have consistently been an issue for the all-time great. Injuries in 2016 and ’17 interrupted Watt’s stratospheric pace, and although the three-time Defensive Player of the Year returned to an All-Pro level in 2018, the former Texans superstar missed a chunk of the 2019 season as well. Since 2016, Watt has missed a total of 32 regular-season games, and we’ll be able to pencil in another 10 missed games for 2021.
While there really isn’t a silver lining, at least the Cardinals can rest a bit easier knowing they’ll be getting some reinforcement on their defensive line this week. Arizona will have Chandler Jones on the field after he spent the past two weeks on their reserve/COVID-19 list.