HOUSTON — Texans pass rusher J.J. Watt, the league's three-time defensive player of the year, re-injured his back and could be out for the season, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
NFL.com first reported the news.
Watt missed training camp and Houston's four preseason games after surgery in July to repair a herniated disk in his back. He started each of the team's three regular-season games and got hurt again Thursday against the Patriots.
It's unclear if the injury will require surgery, but AP reported Watt could go on injured reserve today.
Watt, the defensive player of the year the past two seasons, didn't practice Monday, but coach Bill O'Brien said the defensive end was just getting a day off.
It's a major blow for Houston, which selected Watt 11th overall in the 2011 draft. Watt has played 83 consecutive games despite various injuries, including torn core muscles and a broken hand last season.
This was a tough offseason for Watt, who had surgery in January to repair five torn core muscles before going under the knife again in July to repair his back. There was a time after his surgery in January where he wondered about his future in the NFL.
"After the first surgery there were some days there where I really questioned whether or not I'd ever be able to play again," the former Wisconsin standout said this month. "Just some of the stuff we were dealing with from a rehab standpoint, just the way that the recovery was going early on … there was a very low point there and it was tough."
Watt, 27, who led the NFL with 171/2 sacks last season, has 11/2 this season and 76 for his career, 11 more than any other player in the past five seasons.
Bears: Former Lions running back Joique Bell signed. Starter Jeremy Langford (high right ankle sprain) could miss 4-6 weeks, ESPN reported, and backup Ka'Deem Carey has a hamstring injury. Chicago also placed cornerback Kyle Fuller on injured reserve. Fuller, a first-round pick in 2014, has not played after having arthroscopic knee surgery in August.
Cardinals: They cut rookie long snapper Kameron Canaday and safety Marqui Christian. Canaday had glaring errors on snaps twice in three games — one of which, on what would have been a field goal try, was returned for a touchdown in Sunday's loss to the Bills.
Colts: Outside linebacker Trent Cole, who has 88½ career sacks in 12 NFL seasons, went on injured reserve with a back injury.
Jaguars: Left tackle Kelvin Beachum was cleared from concussion protocol and is slated to practice today in preparation for Sunday's game in London against AFC South rival Indianapolis.
Panthers: They signed former Titans safety Michael Griffin.
Patriots: Quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) were in uniform at practice, but it was no clearer which one, if either, would be healthy enough to start Sunday against Buffalo. Coach Bill Belichick has deflected questions on the status of his quarterbacks this week.
Redskins: Center Kory Lichtensteiger (calf) went on injured reserve and Washington signed free agent center John Sullivan.