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Houston Texans

J.J. Watt’s injury a nasty 180 for Texans’ season

Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt had done what very, very few people expected he’d be able to do. After having back surgery to repair a herniated disk in July, it was expected that Watt would miss at least a few games to start the 2016 season. Instead, the man who hadn’t missed a game throughout his five-year NFL career was able to get back and play in Week 1.

Unfortunately, it seems that Watt and the Texans received some brutal news about his back on Tuesday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.

The obvious first question that comes to mind is whether Watt returned from surgery too soon. While speculating on that is nearly impossible to do, he was still productive, but not quite his old dominant self through three games. Watt totaled eight combined tackles, 1.5 sacks and one fumble recovery over that three-game stretch — obviously was more than just a bit behind pace for the numbers we’ve seen him post over the past four years.

Rapoport followed up on his report by stating that the team has yet to address Watt’s re-injury of his back, but believes that the Texans are likely to place him on injured reserve and hope to get him back down the road.

If Watt is able to do that, he’d be able to return to practice in as early as six weeks, while playing as early as eight weeks from now. That would mean Watt could potentially be back on the field as soon as Sunday, Nov. 27 against the San Diego Chargers. If that were the case, the Texans would have six regular season games left on their schedule.

It’s interesting timing to hear this terrible news for Watt, as it was less than a week ago that he had spoken out about how difficult playing Thursday night games is. This injury seems likely to have happened in last Thursday night’s game against the New England Patriots, and it may be something that could force the league to potentially re-evaluate the idea of having these midweek games.

As for the impact for the Texans, it doesn’t matter if Watt was playing at 100 percent or at 70 percent, losing a dominant player like this is going to have a drastic impact. Even simply not having him on the field forcing opponents to account for him is going to make life quite a bit more difficult for the Texans.

Thus far in 2016, Houston’s defense has been excellent, allowing just 17.7 points per game (No. 7 in the NFL), while giving up just 277 total yards per game (No. 5 in the NFL). To go along with that, they’ve also been the best in the NFL against the passing game of opponents, allowing just 151.3 yards per game through the air.

It’ll be interesting to see how Watt missing time will impact each of those statistics. The good news is that the team may not face a brutal test through the air until three weeks from now when they take on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

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