Watt practice; undecided whether he will play on Monday

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TEMPE, Ariz. Cardinal defensive lineman JJ Watt trained on Thursday for the first time since injuring his left shoulder against the Houston Texans on October 24.

He was “very limited,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said, but was able to attend some drills. Watt was on the field for the open part of the training and went through exercises where he hit a sled and faced a defensive lineman who acted as an offensive lineman.

Kingsbury had no clarity on whether Watt could be ready to play in his first game in nearly 12 weeks Monday night in the NFC wild-card game against the Los Angeles Rams.

“As I mentioned earlier, that’s the next step,” Kingsbury said. “We are not getting ahead of him for whether he will play or not for a while. It’s great to have him back out there.

“He was done with his rehabilitation, done with everything he could do in the weight room, so we wanted to get him back to some functional football drills. That was the step today.”

Watt said he jerked his shoulder “out the back” and injured his rotator cuff, labrum, capsule and infraspinatus, in addition to getting his biceps tendon off joints.

After having surgery to repair his shoulder on Nov. 3, Watt was given a period of four to six months to return. He said he broke his timeline up for weeks and asked the question, “How the hell can I get back faster than that to get back out there, guys?”

“And then you just go to work and you have no idea it will actually work or not,” he said. “You have no idea if you want to make it happen or not, but you just go to work. And if it works, it works. If it does not, it does not, but I knew it at that moment. , you want to do everything you possibly can because the guys in there [would] do everything they could for me. “

Watt returned to the field on Thursday after about 2½ months.

His status for Monday night will not be determined until closer to the match, but he must be approved by the Cardinals’ doctors and coaches, Kingsbury said.

Watt has spent the last few weeks ramping up towards a return to the field. He maximized his recovery and rehabilitation and had begun performing work in the field before being appointed to return from the injured reserve on Friday.

“He’s basically done everything humanly possible he could do in the gym, in the weight room,” Kingsbury said.

The next step in Watt’s return was to meet offensive linemen out next to training. He went through simulated games, drives and halves before returning to training on Thursday. His conditioning was never an issue, Watt said, and he started running as soon as doctors allowed.

“I will not put myself on the field if it will put my team in a worse situation,” Watt said.

If all this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s it.

Watt returned from a torn pec after 10 weeks in 2019, just in time for the Houston Texans’ playoff opening, after receiving a lengthy forecast for a return.

Although Watt is in the 21-day window to return from injured reserve, he is in the next step in his return, which is to start facing live action.

Watt has always thought it was an opportunity to come back in time to play this season.

“For me personally, there has never been a moment I have not considered [a return to be] realistic, because if I did, it would not work, “he said.” I really had to believe in it every second for it to work. I mean, you have to believe in the process, and you have to believe that you want to do something. I mean, it’s the visualization factor or putting-it-out-of-the-universe, whatever you want to say, but if you do not believe in yourself, it will not happen. So I believed in it from the beginning. “

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