No one expected Texans defensive end J.J. Watt to be ready to play on the first Sunday of the regular season. As of right now, it’s looking like he will.
Appearing on Tuesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN, Texans coach Bill O’Brien gave a positive assessment regarding a decision that eventually won’t be made by O’Brien or Watt.
“I think ultimately the medical professionals [will decide],” O’Brien said of Watt. “He came out to practice yesterday and we had a full padded practice and he participated in that practice. He didn’t take every single rep, but he was out there quite a bit, so I would say it’s trending toward him being able to play. But again I’ll rely on our team doctor to give me the go ahead on that probably in a couple days here.”
Watt had back surgery in July, a surprise development that, given its timing, created real questions about when he’d be ready to go.
If he plays against the Bears, there will be real questions about the pounding Watt will take. Given that he’ll be constantly engaging with large offensive lineman, it won’t be easy for Watt to serve as a decoy; he’ll either be able to withstand the physical stress, or he won’t.
For now, it looks like he will.