JJ Watt is expected to play Monday night against the Rams


Ten weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, labrum, shoulder joint capsule and dislocated biceps tendon, among other things, defensive lineman JJ Watt is expected to play for the Cardinals on Monday night when they meet the Rams in an NFC Wild Card Game at SoFi Stadium.

FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Sunday that sources told him Watt would be playing.

On Saturday, after Watt’s third straight practice with the team, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said a final decision likely won’t be made until Monday at the earliest. He said he wanted to wait until game day to determine Watt’s comfort level and what the coaching staff thought he could bring.

“We’re going to take it to the wire with him,” Kingsbury said. “I know if he succeeds he will be there.”

In order for Watt to play, the Cardinals must first officially activate him on the injured reserve list. They can wait until Monday afternoon to do so. Kickoff against the Rams is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Arizona time. NFL teams are not permitted to make roster changes on Sundays.

When Watt met with reporters Wednesday for the first time since tore his shoulder in a Week 7 win over his former team, the Texans, he said he would do nothing to compromise. the Cardinals’ chances in the playoffs.

“Performance-wise, I’m not going to put myself on the pitch if it’s going to put my team in a worse situation,” he said. “It’s not even a question. I’m not going to step onto the pitch if I’m not able to do what I had to do to help us win games. »

Watt plans to wear a harness if he plays Monday night. He’s been wearing it for a few weeks now during his rehabilitation and training work.

Watt was given a four to six month recovery schedule, but it only took him two and a half months to return to the field. If he plays on Monday, it will be one of the most incredible comebacks in NFL history.

“You have no idea if you’re going to make it or not, but you’re going to work,” Watt said. “If it works, it works. If it’s not, it’s not. But I knew then that you were going to do everything you could.

“I really had to believe in it every second for it to work.”

Watt had 16 tackles, five for a loss, 10 quarterback hits with a sack and a forced fumble before he was injured. His presence up front would help bolster the Cardinals’ passing rush and add another worry to Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is 0-3 in the postseason in his career.


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Do you have an opinion on the Arizona Cardinals? Contact McManaman at bob.mcmanaman@arizonarepublic.com and follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac. Listen to him live on Fox Sports 910-AM every Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. on Calling All Sports with Roc and Manuch.

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