HOUSTON — Texans defensive end J.J. Watt reinjured his back and is expected to be placed on injured reserve Wednesday, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Adam Schefter.
“It doesn’t look good,” a Texans source said.
The news was first reported by NFL.com.
If Watt is placed on IR, he can return to practice after six weeks and to game action after eight weeks, meaning he could be back Nov. 27 against the San Diego Chargers. However, sources told ESPN’s Ed Werder that Watt “probably” is done for the season and that the Texans felt he was never right after offseason surgery.
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The Colts know what the Texans are going through in losing J.J. Watt, and they now have a golden opportunity to take the division back from Houston.
The Texans plan to re-sign defensive end Antonio Smith in Watt’s place, league sources told Schefter.
Watt missed all of training camp and the preseason after he had surgery for a herniated disk in his back in late July. The three-time defensive player of the year and four-time Pro Bowler played part of last season through the injury, before aggravating it late in the offseason. He also had surgery in January to repair five torn core muscles.
The 27-year-old has not been as explosive since returning to the field, although he did have 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Watt started all three of the Texans’ regular-season games so far, including Thursday’s blowout loss to the New England Patriots in which he had two tackles and no sacks.
Watt missed practice Monday, although coach Bill O’Brien said he was just getting the day off.
Watt has never missed a game in his six-year NFL career.
However, there was a time after his surgery in January that he wondered about his future in the NFL.
“After the first surgery, there were some days there where I really questioned whether or not I’d ever be able to play again,” he said earlier this month. “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.”
Houston selected Watt with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft. He has played 83 consecutive games for the Texans despite various injuries, including the torn core muscles and a broken hand last season. He has been a force since entering the league not only because of his pass-rushing prowess, but also because of his uncanny ability to swat down passes. He has 45 passes defended in his six-year career. He has forced 15 fumbles and recovered 13.
Watt led the NFL with 17.5 sacks last season and has 76 for his career.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.