Pittsburgh Steelers star T.J. Watt is believed to have suffered a torn pectoral during Sunday's 23-20 overtime victory against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported the Steelers are holding out hope that it's only a partial tear, which would allow Watt to return sooner.
Watt reportedly will undergo scans Monday to confirm the diagnosis.
The Steelers need the pass-rusher healthy if they are going to stay in contention in the deep AFC North.
Watt is coming off his best season in the NFL, tying the all-time record with 22.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss on the way to the Defensive Player of the Year award. It's a continuation of an incredible start to his career, with four Pro Bowls in his first five seasons and three first-team All-Pro honors.
He had 72 sacks in his first five seasons in the league, including at least 13 each of the last four years.
Pittsburgh's defense would take a major step back if Watt misses the kind of time that could be required to heal a significant pec injury. Alex Highsmith will need to fill a bigger role in the pass rush alongside Cameron Heyward until he's back on the field.