This story first appeared on RollingStone.com.
Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt has been put on injured reserve after reinjuring his back, NFL.com reported yesterday. Sources told ESPN that they believed Watt was never right after coming back from offseason surgery he had on a herniated disk in his back this late July, and anybody who watched the Texans this year could tell that Watt was playing at nowhere near 100 percent.
Watt would be available to play for the November 27 game against the San Diego Chargers, and then be on the field for the last six games of the season. But even if he says he's ready to go and doctors clear him, the Texans, who at 2-1 going into this week's game against the division rival Tennessee Titans are the top team in the AFC South, might be content with letting Watt just spend the rest of the season getting better as they make a push for the payoffs. And that might be for the best.
The 27-year-old Watt, who has made the Pro Bowl four times and helped make the Texans a legitimate threat going into the playoffs since joining the team after they drafted him with the 11th pick in 2011, has so far never missed a game in his NFL career.
Watt himself had questioned whether or not he'd even ever play again after the surgery. Telling ESPN, "Just some of the stuff we were dealing with from a rehab standpoint, just the way that the recovery was going early on… there was a very low point there, and it was tough."
Considering that he probably shouldn't have even been out on the field these first few games, and now he's basically right back to where he started, the smart bet might be just to let him sit out until he is totally healthy and ready to go. If he's cleared in six weeks, the Texans and Watt will have to decide whether he is truly ready to play, or if they should just have him sit this one out.