Cardinals' J.J. Watt Updates Shoulder Injury Rehab, Says He's 'Feeling Really Good'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 22, 2021

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 05:Arizona Cardinals Defensive End J.J. Watt (99) looks on before a NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Chicago Bears on December 5, 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt was upbeat when discussing his recovery from the shoulder injury that has kept him out since October.

"It's going really well," Watt told Maanav's Sports Talk of his rehab (h/t Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site). "It's going much better than we could've hoped or expected for it to go at this time. I'm feeling really good. I'm doing a lot of stuff to try and push it as hard as I can to smartly and safely get back as fast as I can."

Watt was placed on injured reserve after suffering a brutal injury in a Week 7 victory over the Houston Texans. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the defensive end tore his labrum, his bicep and his rotator cuff while also dislocating his shoulder.

The 32-year-old had 16 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble in seven games, helping the Cardinals to a 7-0 start in his first season in the desert. The squad is just 3-4 since Watt went down.

The 11th-year veteran is hoping to work his way back to the field much quicker than doctors have projected.

"They tell me I'm done, I have to get surgery and it's going to take four-to-six months," Watt told Maanav Gupta. "I'm sitting there and I can easily pout and easily say: 'Woe is me, four-to-six months. I'll do what I have to do.' But instead I said, 'Nah, I'm not going to accept that.'"

Watt was one of the most dominant players in the NFL earlier in his career, winning the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2012, 2014 and 2015 as a member of the Texans.

Injuries have been the bigger story in recent seasons. He missed at least eight games in three of his last five years in Houston. He has shown impressive resolve in his rehab, working his way back from a torn pectoral muscle in 2019 in time to play in the postseason.

Watt is looking to make another dramatic recovery for the Cardinals as they seek their first playoff appearance since 2015.