Arizona Cardinals’ defensive end, JJ Watt could well be out for the rest of the NFL season after it was revealed that the 32-year-old will need surgery on a shoulder injury that he picked up against former side Houston Texans.
Watts, who sat out of his side’s game against the Green Bay Packers, as well as practice all week, started the first seven outings of the season and has 16 tackles and 10 quarterback hits on the statistics sheet, plus one sack and forced fumble apiece.
It will be a trying time for the Cardinals who are unbeaten this season, with Watts becoming the latest in a line of injuries to key stars that includes wide receiver DeAndre Watkins who is out with a hamstring problem.
His absence is likely to cause concern for the Cardinals, with the player having scooped three ‘Defensive Player of the Year’ awards with the Texans during his decade-long spell in Houston.
Playoff return possible?
If the Cardinals reach the playoffs and on recent form, this could be a realistic scenario, despite their current injury situation, then there is a glimmer of hope that Watts could feature, with a three month recovery period being anticipated after his operation.
The Cardinals will be relieved to have edge rusher, Chandler Jones, back in contention though, as well as defensive lineman Zach Allen who have both recovered from COVID-19, which will help to cushion the blow of Watt’s injury.
Should Watt’s new side make the playoffs and he recovers in time, he will understandably be eager to play, considering that a Superbowl still eludes him, despite him being regarded by many in the game as one of the best defensive ends of all time.
The hope will be that this latest injury (Watts is no stranger to them), is not just season-ending, but also career-ending, though he has demonstrated a good rate of recovery over the last decade.
Should the Cardinals worry?
His start to the season has clearly been a contributory factor to his new team’s good form, though as statistics for other players suggest, they can cope without him if they are lucky with other injuries between now and January.
All eyes will be on how he reacts to surgery and then the rate of recovery – the coaching staff will not rush him back if it means that he will be affected long term. It could well be next season before fans see him on the field again, though Watt will no doubt have different ideas.
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