HOUSTON – (Wire Service Report) – Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is headed for injured reserve after re-injuring his back, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday. Watt underwent back surgery in late July, and sat out the preseason. He returned to play each of the Texans’ first three regular-season games, but NFL.com reported he was hurt Thursday in Houston’s loss to the New England Patriots.
A move to short-term injured reserve would keep Watt out of practice for six weeks, with a chance to return to action in eight weeks for a Nov. 27 game against the San Diego Chargers, ESPN.com reported.
Watt, 27, managed only eight tackles and 1 1/2 sacks through three weeks this season. It was a significant drop-off from last season, when he recorded 17 1/2 sacks and three forced fumbles en route to his third Defensive Player of the Year honor. He also captured the award in 2012 and 2014, finishing with 20 1/2 sacks and four forced fumbles each year.
Watt, Houston’s 2011 first-round pick (11th overall) out of Wisconsin, has 76 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and one interception in 83 games, all starts. He has never missed a regular-season game. According to NFL.com, Watt’s rate of 0.92 sacks per game is higher than any other player since the stat was first established in 1982.