Cardinals' JJ Watt designated to return, reportedly aiming for wild-card weekend

·2 min read

The Arizona Cardinals officially designated J.J. Watt to return from injured reserve, setting up a return for the playoffs. The star is reportedly aiming to return for wild-card weekend.  

Watt can begin practicing with the team and must be activated to the 53-man roster within the next 21 days. The defensive end has not played since Week 7 after reportedly tearing his bicep, labrum and rotator cuff in a win against Houston. He underwent surgery and had aimed to be back for the Super Bowl. 

Watt, 32, is now aiming to return for the first week of the playoffs the weekend of Jan. 15, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Friday. The estimated recovery for the injuries are usually about six months. He was hurt on Oct. 24, less than three months ago. But, per Rapoport:

According to those with knowledge of his rehab, Watt is already testing at a level that would allow him to play. Over the past few days, he had an MRI to confirm the incredible progress he's made.

In his first year in Arizona, Watt had one sack, one forced fumble, 10 quarterback hits and 16 tackles (five for loss) in seven games. He had asked out of Houston in the offseason. 

Cardinals playoff picture

The Cardinals (11-5) are currently in the first of three wildcard spots. They have a chance at winning the NFC West when they finish the regular season against the Seattle Seahawks (6-10) at home. They need a victory coupled with a loss by the Los Angeles Rams (12-4) when they host the San Francisco 49ers. 

The playoffs begin the weekend of Jan. 15 with wild-card weekend. The Super Bowl is Feb. 13. 

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 21: J.J. Watt #99 of the Arizona Cardinals walks the field before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 21: J.J. Watt #99 of the Arizona Cardinals walks the field before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
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