Arizona Cardinals’ J.J. Watt hopeful he can play vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Sep 15, 2022, 12:13 PM | Updated: 12:18 pm

Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...

Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE — A big piece of the Arizona Cardinals defense in J.J. Watt was absent in the team’s dismal showing against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1.

Dealing with a calf issue leading up to the matchup — in addition to a COVID-19 stint before the injury — Watt was relegated to the sideline as he continued to heal.

After returning to the practice field on Thursday, the defensive end “would imagine” that he’ll be suiting up for the team’s Week 2 contest against the Las Vegas Raiders.

“It was a good day of work, a good first day back out there,” Watt said. “We’ll get some more tomorrow and go from there.

“I was sick for a little bit there and then just had a little tweak of the calf, so worked through it and good to go.”

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph also remains optimistic about Watt’s chances to play in Las Vegas.

There is, however, a fine line of utilizing Watt properly and not overdoing it in his first game back from injury and illness.

“He’s close, he’s practicing,” Joseph said. “Obviously, J.J. wants to play every game and play every snap. We got to be careful with him to make sure he’s right to play.”

But while the signs continue to point to Watt’s return this Sunday, another important player’s status isn’t as clear.

Safety Jalen Thompson was a surprise addition to the injury report on Wednesday with a toe injury. He was once again not out with the team for Thursday’s practice.

Friday will be a big indicator as to where exactly Thompson is health-wise.

Regardless of who lines up in Sin City, it’s on the unit as a whole to rise to the occasion.

“I’ll say this about our defense, we have no excuses,” Joseph said. “We have guys who can do their jobs and on Sunday we didn’t do it.

“That’s my fault, absolutely my fault as a coach, but we have guys who are capable. Whoever plays on Sunday, I expect us to play good.”

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