Cards designate Watt to return, could help in playoffs

Sports

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt prior to an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt has been designated to return from the injured reserve list by the Arizona Cardinals, leaving open the possibility he could boost the team’s defense during the playoffs.

The Cardinals made the move Friday and now have 21 days to elevate Watt to the 53-man roster. He can return to practice immediately. The 32-year-old Watt was initially expected to be out for the season because of a shoulder injury on Oct. 24, but has been working out at Arizona’s practice facility to try to be ready for the playoffs.

Watt signed with the Cardinals during the offseason after spending his first 10 seasons with the Houston Texans. The veteran had five tackles for a loss and a sack in seven games before the shoulder injury, which occurred during the Arizona’s 31-5 victory over the Texans on Oct. 24.

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury wasn’t sure if Watt would be able to contribute in the playoffs, but it’s still a possibility. Watt won’t play in the regular-season finale against the Seahawks on Sunday.

“It’s procedural,” Kingsbury said. “He’s done all he can do in the training room and weight room. So we’ll get him back out there, work him through some things. But he’s attacked that rehab just like you’d assume he would. Nobody’s seen anybody go at it quite like he has over the past couple months. It’s been awe inspiring to watch him every day and it’s always good to have him back on the field.”

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9/9 @Central Connecticut 6:30pm FS1%
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9/26 vs. TBD TBD TBD
9/30 @ Maryland-Eastern Shore 7:00pm CBS SN
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12/11 vs. St. Bonaventure 3:30pm ESPN2
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12/21 @ Marquette 9:00pm FS1
12/28 @ Xavier 7:00pm FS1
1/1 vs. Butler 4:00pm FS1
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1/12 vs. St. John’s 8:30pm FS1
1/15 @ Providence 2:00pm FS1
1/20 @ Butler 9:00pm FS1
1/25 @ Georgetown 8:30pm CBS SN
1/29 @ DePaul 6:30pm FS1
2/1 vs. Creighton 6:30pm FS1
2/5 @ Villanova Noon FOX
2/8 vs. Marquette 6:30pm FS1
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