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Decision on Watt's Return to Come Closer to Monday's Game

J.J. Watt will practice this week for the first time since suffering multiple injuries in his shoulder during a Week 7 win.

J.J. Watt will make his return to the practice field this week ahead of the Cardinals' wild-card Playoff game on Monday. 

How he feels and performs will dictate whether he can suit up on game day, a decision he and head coach Kliff Kingsbury said has not been made yet. 

Watt has been rehabbing for over two months after suffering multiple injuries in his shoulder against the Houston Texans in Week 7. 

He had surgery on Nov. 3 and is working to be on the field for the Cardinals against the Los Angeles Rams. 

"I won't speak to Monday," Watt said in a Zoom press conference on Wednesday. "I'm excited to get on the practice field and see how it feels. I've been doing stuff on my own, been doing stuff with offensive linemen on the side, but I haven't been in the actual full-blown practice setting yet. 

"We'll make that decision as Monday comes closer."

Kingsbury told reporters that Watt has done everything in the weight room and training room that he can. The next step is getting on the grass and seeing how it looks. 

Watt said he has done simulated drives and tested his shoulder out against offensive linemen, but this week will be his first working in a team setting again. 

The veteran was told in November he would need four-to-six months to recover and rehab after surgery, but he worked his way back after fewer than three. 

"Pushing wherever you're allowed to push and trying to do whatever we could every single day from treatment to workouts to little movements to nutrition and sleep and whatever possible to get back as fast as I possibly could," Watt explained. 

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"You have no clue if it's gonna actually work or not. You have no clue if you're gonna make it happen or not, but you just go to work. And if it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't."

Watt has been through various injuries throughout his career. In 2019 as a Texan, Watt tore his pectoral muscle in late October and missed the remainder of the regular season. 

He worked his way back for the playoffs and had a sack in a wild-card game against Buffalo to help Houston win and move on. 

It showed him that making progress faster than initially expected was possible if he stuck to the process. He said this time was not different.  

The Cardinals were 7-0 after defeating Houston, and he said it was devastating to get hurt at that point. 

He believed the team was set up to do something special. 

Arizona has gone 4-6 since, but his mindset is that the Cardinals are in the playoffs where the slate is wiped clean and they have an opportunity. 

"You control your own destiny from here on, so that's that's the beauty of it," Watt said. 

The Cardinals will practice on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Perhaps the team will have a clear idea to what Watt's role will be on Monday night this weekend.