Arizona Cardinals designate DL J.J. Watt to return from injured reserve

Jan 7, 2022, 9:12 AM | Updated: 12:18 pm

The Arizona Cardinals designated defensive lineman J.J. Watt to return from the injured reserve on Friday, the team announced.

Additionally, the team elevated cornerback Kevin Peterson to the active roster from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement and activated safety Javon Hagan from the practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list.

Arizona has 21 days to activate Watt (shoulder) off the IR. The lineman can begin practicing immediately.

While Watt has yet to be activated, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the lineman is planning to return for the first week of playoffs.

The Cardinals take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday to close out the regular season before the Wild Card round kicks off the following weekend. As of Friday, the Cardinals could end up playing on either Saturday or Sunday depending on seeding.

It’s undoubtedly a positive sign Watt’s rehab on his shoulder is paying off.

“It’s going really well,” Watt said in late December while talking with YouTube sports talk host Maanav Gupta. “It’s going much better than I think we could have hoped or expected for it to go at this time.

“I’m feeling really good, I’m doing a lot of stuff to try and push it as hard as I can, to smartly and safely make it back as fast as I can.”

Watt reportedly tore his labrum, biceps and rotator cuff. He also dislocated his shoulder, according to Rapoport.

The defensive lineman appeared in Arizona’s first seven games of the year and played through the injury in the 31-5 win against Houston on Oct. 24.

Over those games, he posted 16 tackles, seven stuffs, a sack and a forced fumble. Per Pro Football Focus, Watt tallied 28 pressures, highlighted by 11 QB hits and 16 hurries.

Peterson stepped up big for the Cardinals with starting cornerback Marco Wilson sidelined with a shoulder injury last week against the Dallas Cowboys, totaling seven tackles and garnering 92% of the defensive snaps (59) in his first start with Arizona.

The Cardinals take on the Seahawks at 2:25 p.m. on Sunday. Tune to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station for all the action.

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