According to Rapoport, Watt didn't suffer ligament damage but still faces a "long recovery."
Watt addressed his injury on Twitter:
JJ Watt @JJWatt
I can't sugarcoat it, I am devastated. All I want to do is be out there on that field for my teammates and this city. I'm sorry.2017-10-9 11:16:07
Sports medicine expert Dr. Mark Adickes provided context:
Dr. Mark Adickes @jocktodoc
JJ Watt’s injury, a tibial plateau fracture, is a more severe trauma to the joint than an ACL. Instead of a ligament tearing the bone broke.2017-10-9 02:50:49
Sunday's loss proved costly for the Texans. In addition to Watt's injury, outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus suffered a torn pectoral muscle, the Houston Chronicle's John McClain reported. Texans head coach Bill O'Brien confirmed Monday both Watt and Mercilus are out for season.
It's the second year in a row Watt suffered a season-ending injury after back surgery limited him to three games in 2016. On Sunday, Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman wondered whether the injuries will have long-term consequences for the four-time All-Pro:
"Watt represents the splendor and power and danger of the NFL. How these giants move with such speed and power, but also how easily they can be felled. Even a player as formidable as Watt. ...
"It's clear, however, what's happening to Watt now. The game is wearing his body down. Even in this maliciously violent sport, Watt has experienced some of the worst the NFL can give. The only thing that hasn't happened chronically to Watt (that we know of) is a high number of serious concussive head blows."
In the short term, the absences of Watt and Mercilus put a serious dent in Houston's playoff hopes, even with the AFC South again looking like the NFL's weakest division. The 2-3 Texans are tied with the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, a game behind the Jacksonville Jaguars for the division lead.
Unlike last year, the Houston passing game isn't as much of a weakness since Deshaun Watson has taken over under center, but the rookie will shoulder an even bigger burden with Watt and Mercilus out.