HOUSTON — Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is expected to return to practice on Tuesday, a source confirmed to ESPN.
Watt tore a pectoral muscle in Week 8 while making a tackle on Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and had surgery two days later.
Watt, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, is returning to practice eight weeks after his surgery. According to ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell, the typical recovery time for a torn pectoral muscle is three to four months.
The Texans put Watt on injured reserve, but have now designated him to return. With Watt’s return to practice, Houston has a 21-day window to add him to the active roster.
The Houston Chronicle first reported the story.
On the night Watt tore his pectoral muscle, he and the team initially thought he would be out for the rest of the season. “This game can be beautiful and it can also be brutal,” Watt tweeted on Oct. 27. “Absolutely gutted that I won’t be able to finish the season with my guys and give the fans what they deserve.”
Houston clinched the AFC South with a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday. The Texans will host the Tennessee Titans in Week 17 and then host a playoff game.
Watt did not miss a game during the first five seasons of his career, but he has dealt with major injuries in three of his past four seasons. He only played in three games in 2016 before undergoing season-ending back surgery. The following year, Watt broke his leg in Week 5.
Watt played in all 16 regular-season games in 2018, finishing the season with 16 sacks, which ranked second in the NFL.
When Watt got hurt this season, he led the NFL in pressures and quarterback hits. Houston is ranked 26th in the NFL with 31 sacks.