HOUSTON — J.J. Watt is out until at least December and could miss the rest of the season with an injured back, leaving the Texans searching for ways to deal with the loss of the NFL's best defensive player.
The defensive end was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, which means he'll be out for a minimum of eight weeks.
"You can never replace the best player in the NFL," coach Bill O'Brien said. "When someone like that goes down, it's a tough thing obviously, but at the same time … this is a team."
O'Brien said Watt re-injured his back, and putting him on injured reserve was the best thing for his long-term health. It was unclear if Watt would need surgery.
Watt, voted the NFL's defensive player of the year each of the past two seasons, missed training camp and Houston's four preseason games after surgery in July to repair a herniated disc. He started each of the Texans' three regular-season games and got hurt again Thursday against the Patriots.
Seferian-Jenkins must "sink or swim" on own: Former Bucs tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is getting a quick second chance from the Jets. Coach Todd Bowles said Seferian-Jenkins will "sink or swim on his own."
"We brought in the player," Bowles said. "He has a chance to clean his act up, and we'll see what happens."
Seferian-Jenkins arrived at the Jets' facility after practice to complete his physical and was expected to join his new teammates on the field for the first time today.
He was claimed off waivers Monday from the Bucs, who cut him last week after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence.
Pats' Edelman fields special QB query: Introducing himself as "Walt Patulski from the Buffalo News," Bills coach Rex Ryan popped in during a conference call Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was holding with reporters in the team's media room. Ryan asked Edelman if he was playing quarterback against the Bills on Sunday, given the Patriots' uncertainty at the position with Tom Brady suspended and his two backups injured.
"Well, I'm going to do whatever the coach asks me to do," Edelman said. "You could ask coach that one."
"All right, Julian, I will buddy," said Ryan, giggling.
"All right, Walt," the Patriots receiver replied in a tone suggesting that he might have figured out he was the subject of a prank.
Ryan later said he believes he knows who will start but wouldn't say who.
And who is Walt Patulski? A defensive end the Bills selected with the No. 1 pick in the 1972 draft.
Bears: Quarterback Jay Cutler returned to practice on a limited basis after missing a game because of a sprained right thumb.
Cowboys: Receiver Dez Bryant has a slight hairline fracture in a bone in his right knee, though coach Jason Garrett said he might not miss a game. Bryant didn't practice Wednesday, three days after getting hurt in a win over Chicago, and the day the team got back results of an MRI exam.
Seahawks: Quarterback Russell Wilson (sprained left MCL) was a full participant in practice and all indications were that he would be able to play Sunday against the Jets. Coach Pete Carroll said he needed to see how Wilson recovered but he expected his quarterback to be able to play.