GM: Arizona Cardinals holding out hope J.J. Watt can avoid surgery, IR

Nov 5, 2021, 3:15 PM | Updated: 3:18 pm

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt greets safety Budda Baker (3) during the first half of an...

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt greets safety Budda Baker (3) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

It’s been 12 days since Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt suffered a likely season-ending shoulder injury in Week 7.

A report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport indicated it was not just one issue but one that included a dislocated shoulder, torn labrum, torn biceps and a torn rotator cuff.

If that sounds like more than a boo-boo, well, it stood out Watt played through that injury in a win against the Houston Texans.

Could that mean a return this year is possible?

General manager Steve Keim told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday that he and the team were still looking at medical opinions to determine if Watt could miraculously play again this season — and soon.

“That’s the hope. The hope is his shoulder feels better, he can strengthen it and that we can potentially move forward without any surgery or putting him on IR,” Keim said. “So I think we should know very shortly here. I’m not 100% sure ’cause I have not talked to him today. If there’s anybody who can play, I promise you it’s J.J. Watt. I know there were some questions about (his health history) when we signed him, but I couldn’t be happier about the addition.

“I’m hopeful but I think you always have to, in my position, prepare regardless. Again, I’m holding out hope but at the same time, we’ll be prepared. I know J.J. when he comes back, regardless, is going to continue to be that leader on and off the field.”

Watt has yet to be put on ice for the three-week minimum required for an injured reserve assignment, and the final injury report Friday still listed Watt as not participating in practice. Just being on the injury report means he’s a rostered player.

Watt appeared in all seven wins to begin the Cardinals’ season, recording 10 tackles with a sack and forced fumble. He also has two pass deflections and 28 pressures in pass-rushing situations.

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