According to Ian Rappaport, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has re-injured his back and will miss “significant” time, perhaps the entire season.
Rappaport has always had good sources in the Texans organization, so it is likely he is correct on this one.
Watt apparently hurt the back against the Patriots in the Texans ugly 27-0 loss.
If the report is true, it is fair to question both Watt and the Texans for rushing him back, and for playing two games in five days. Of the players the Texans could not afford to lose, Watt is probably No. 1 on the list. Mishandling the injury is borderline criminal.
Watt will go on injured reserve. Teams can bring one player back off IR if Watt is healthy enough to return late in the year. In the interim, the Texans are expected to sign Antonio Smith.
So now what?
The Texans still have a very good defense; perhaps good enough to make the playoffs even without Watt. But they will need some players to step up and have career years. Jadeveon Clowney has to be the dominant force he was drafted to be. Whitney Mercilus needs to continue his upward arc. Vince Wilfork needs to go back to being a playmaker, not just a place holder. It’s a big challenge.
Best case, Watt returns late in the season to a team that is making a playoff push. Worst? He is gone for the year, and any hopes the Texans had of making noise in the playoffs is gone with it.