Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will not be suiting up for the start of training camp and possibly much, if not all, of the preseason. The Houston Chronicle's John McClain is reporting that Watt had back surgery that will land him on the Physically Unable To Perform ("PUP") list to start training camp.
JJ Watt has undergone back surgery and will start camp on physically unable 2 perform but should b ready 4 season.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) July 22, 2016
The extent of the surgery, the cause of the surgery, or what exactly was being repaired has not been announced at this time, though Watt did reveal earlier this offseason that he suffered a herniated disk approximately halfway through the 2015 season. To that end, Tania Ganguli notes:
Watt played last season with a herniated disk, among his many maladies. But he's never missed a game. #Texans— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 22, 2016
The vague term of "back surgery" is rather terrifying for any athlete, especially one that plays as a dynamic a position as Watt on the defensive line.
Wow. Lots of details needed to assess likelihood of W1 return. Nature and timing of injury, type of surgery, etc. https://t.co/I4RBq9lMpF— Jene Bramel (@JeneBramel) July 22, 2016
Nevertheless, McClain notes that Watt is expected to be available in time for the start of the regular season. Recall that Watt missed all the 2012 preseason with an elbow injury, only to finish the year with his first NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
Watt has never missed a game in his career and should ready for opener against the Bears.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) July 22, 2016
Watt missed 2012 preseason because of an elbow injury, didn't miss a regular season game and won first NFL Defensive Player of Year award.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) July 22, 2016
Watt is coming off his third Defensive Player of the Year award-winning season. He led all defensive linemen in sacks (17.5), QB hits (50), tackles for loss (29) and passes defended (8) in 2015.
The Texans will face the Bears in Houston on Sept. 11 in Week One of the 2016 season.
UPDATE: Some additional details and clarity from Ian Rapoport:
On JJ Watt’s back surgery: I’m told the recovery time is 6-8 weeks & it happened very recently. Puts him right up against the start of 2016— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 22, 2016
To be clear on #Texans DL JJ Watt’s back surgery: It was yesterday. He was still in the hospital today. 6-8 week recovery. It’ll be close.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 22, 2016
UPDATE #2: NFL Network's Mike Garofolo is now reporting that Watt's timeline could be even longer than eight weeks. There is a real possibility (and by that, I mean it's almost looking likely at this point) that Watt will miss some games to start the season.
On JJ Watt, texted with a source informed of his prognosis who pumped the brakes on early optimism. Cautioned it could take up to 10 weeks.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 22, 2016
We'll keep this post updated as more information becomes available.