Only the fact that he wasn’t in uniform provided any evidence that Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt is dealing with a left shoulder problem that will likely require surgery and could sideline him for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Watt was on the sideline for Thursday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers and did not have a sling or appear to have any protective covering for a shoulder that reportedly was dislocated against the Houston Texans and also suffered damage to the biceps, labrum and rotator cuff.
The Cardinals have said nothing about the specifics of the injury all week, from the time he appeared on the injury report Monday to him being declared out on Wednesday for Thursday’s game to the multiple national reports circulated Wednesday evening about the severity of the injury.
After the game against the Packers, head coach Kliff Kingsbury was asked if Watt will miss what’s left of the season.
Kingsbury said, “I'm not sure on the exact timetable. He'll have surgery and then we'll kind of take it from there.”
He then said the surgery will occur “next week sometime.”
When asked for an update on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday, general manager Steve Keim said, “I know he was consulting with a couple additional specialists. Beyond that, I do not know a lot of information. I know that surgery is an option. But at the same time, I think there are some things that are possibly put in place that we want to play this thing out for a little bit more time and sort of see how he responds. To me, if there's anybody that can bounce back and can do it (this season), it's J.J. Watt.
“Been obviously very excited about what he's brought to this football team. Leadership, intangibles, toughness, everything that he sort of represented. So, certainly owe it to him to give him a little bit of time to see how this plays out.”
When asked if that means he might be able to return at some point this season, Keim got a laugh when he said, “As far as I know, I think there's always a possibility. I don't want to certainly rule that out yet. Again, I'm not a doctor ... But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once.”
With unlimited activations available on reserve/injured, Watt will likely be placed on the list, perhaps next week, with the team having the ability to activate him at any point in the regular season or postseason should the Cardinals advance.