A couple of days after not wanting to discuss the possibility of a return of Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt for the playoffs, Head Coach Bill O'Brien finally explained the Texans' recent move to designate Watt to return from the injured reserve opening the 21-day window to practice with his teammates.
Watt returned to the practice field on Tuesday, and the organization's goal is to get him ready for the opening round of the playoffs to contribute.
"As you guys know," O'Brien explained. "We were able to activate him relative to being able to practice but not to come to the 53, yet. Because of the length of time between his injury and where we declared him on injured reserve and where he is now. So, he came to practice on, what was it Tuesday. And, you know, he was out there practice."
Not eligible to come off the injured reserve until he misses eight games, Watt will officially be able to come off the injured reserve against the Texans' first-round playoff opponent in a couple of weeks.
With Watt working every day with medical personnel, O'Brien is now in wait and see mode on what he can do in practice to get a better gauge of where he is football-wise.
"I don't know," O'Brien said of what Watt will be able to do. "we'll have to see you know what I mean. That's why we did what we did on the timetable that we did it. Meaning, be able to declare him eligible for practice to see how he looks in practice and then kind of go from there."
On Tuesday, Watt talked about working with the medical staff on the field and working on getting his strength back. Hitting goals along the way, Watt was comfortable with where he is and how it will hold up when he gets back into game speed.
"JJ and I had a lot of conversations about this, and I know that JJ spoke to you guys the other day," O'Brien continued. "JJ, even before you know being declared eligible to come back to practice, he passed the number of tests along the way. Let's just call it 20 tests whatever those tests might be."
All of the rehab is complete for Watt. Now it is all about football and how much he can handle over the next couple of weeks in preparation for the Texans playoff matchup.
"Everything from here on out is more about football relative to what he would be able to do," O'Brien said of Watt's return. "We'll have to see that was only one day of practice we have to kind of see as we go through the next couple weeks to see where it's at."
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