One of the undefeated Cardinals’ biggest defensive stars could miss the rest of the season, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Arizona’s first-year defensive end JJ Watt, who was ruled out of the team’s “Thursday Night Football” game against the Packers with an unspecified shoulder injury, will undergo season-ending surgery. Schefter reports that there is no date set for the procedure yet and that Watt’s injury was injured at some point during the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Texans.
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Cardinals DE JJ Watt will undergo what will now likely be season-ending shoulder surgery, sources told ESPN. A date for the surgery has not yet been set.
Watt hurt his shoulder in the second quarter on Sunday and still managed to play the rest of the game with the injury. pic.twitter.com/Y2pzFV8sFQ
– Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2021
Watt hasn’t had All-Pro caliber stats in his first year with the Cardinals, but he has contributed significantly to Arizona’s defense nonetheless. He has played and started all seven games this season, with a total of 16 tackles (five per loss), one sack and 10 quarterback hits. He is tied with Chandler Jones in loss tackles and ranks second on the team behind him in quarterback hits. He also has two passes defended and a forced fumble.
The way Arizona handles the potential loss of Watt this season could be a boon for the remainder of its 2021 campaign. The Cardinals, 7-0, are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL and are currently projected as the top team. favorite in the NFC playoffs. They are also the best team in the Sporting News power rankings.
With that, Sporting News breaks down everything you need to know about Watt’s injury and the schedule for the comeback:
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What is JJ Watt’s injury?
It is not known what Watt’s injury is or how severe it is. The Cardinals on Wednesday only named Watt as an out for Thursday’s game against the Cardinals because of an undisclosed shoulder problem.
However, it is clearly serious enough to warrant surgery that could end the season. According to Schefter, Watt suffered the injury in the second quarter of the Cardinals’ 31-5 win over their former team, the Texans. He continued to play through the injury, particularly exacerbating the problem (although that has not been confirmed).
Watt finished the game with a lose tackle and a quarterback hit.
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How long will JJ Watt be gone?
Schefter described the surgery as the end of the season, although Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network specified that the projected recovery schedule is at least three months.
#AZCardinals DE JJ Watt played the entire second half last week … and now needs shoulder surgery, the source said. The recovery is likely to be at least three months, which may knock him out for the season. A difficult situation for the veteran.
– Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 28, 2021
Assuming the best-case scenario where Watt only needs three months to recover, and assuming Watt has the procedure done before the week is out, that would create a slim chance that he could return by the end of January. The NFC championship game is January 30, 2022; Super Bowl 56 follows two weeks later, on February 13.
That would obviously require a deep playoff run by the Cardinals, probably all the way to the Super Bowl. That said, he has a history of coming back from injury to make the playoffs. Watt, then with the Texans, was placed on injured reserve in 2019 after sustaining a chest injury on October 27. He was activated in time for the Texans’ second-round game against the Chiefs on January 12, although he did not. record any statistics in defeat 51-31.
Of course, your injury then and now is completely different and requires different timelines and treatments for any return. But if the Cardinals make a deep playoff run, it’s certainly possible that Watt will try to come back with his new team.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.