Cards designate Watt to return, could help in playoffs


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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