Pittsburgh Steelers star T.J. Watt avoided a potential season-ending injury. Watt suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle and could recover in as soon as five weeks in a best-case scenario, according to a league source who gave an update on the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year on Monday night.
On Tuesday, Watt shared a Terminator GIF with the famous words: “I’ll be back.”
Indeed, he will.
Latest update on T.J. Watt and timeline for return
If Watt had torn his pectoral fully, he would have been out for the entire regular season with a chance to return for the playoffs. Although he’s still expected to be placed on injured reserve, Watt will have an opportunity to return before midseason. There’s expected to be a ramp-up time for him before he plays in a game again.
Watt got hurt while hitting Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow on Sunday. He immediately knew it was a pectoral injury and informed the Steelers’ training staff.
Watt, once placed on injured reserve, could return after four weeks as far as being activated to practice. That could allow him to be back perhaps for an Oct. 16 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The former Wisconsin star has 37 1/2 sacks over the past two seasons. In the meantime, the Steelers will lean on Alex Highsmith, who had three sacks Sunday in Watt’s absence. Pittsburgh had seven sacks overall on Sunday against Burrow.
The Steelers also signed former Washington Commanders second-round draft pick and Alabama standout outside linebacker Ryan Anderson to their practice squad Tuesday, per a league source.
Mike Tomlin comments on Watt
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin reacted to Watt’s injury in greater detail Tuesday.
“Let me say this, we’re probably in a lot better place than we were after the game and usually that’s the case,” Tomlin said in a press conference. “That’s why I don’t always say too much after the game even though there might be speculation out there. I can definitively say that T.J. won’t play this week, but I won’t make any commitments beyond that.
“We’re not in a hurry to gather information too quickly. We will see how his body responds. We’ll get a second and third opinions and then at the end of the week or at some point we will do what’s appropriate.”
The younger brother of three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, T.J.’s loss represents a major blow to the Steelers’ defense. The news that he will play again this season is an extremely positive development considering the alternative scenario.