Pittsburgh Steelers star T.J. Watt will have his return to the field delayed even further after he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Brooke Pryor.
The surgery, which was done "to clean up a preseason injury that lingered into the regular season," is expected to push back Watt's return to the field by an extra week, per Schefter and Pryor.
Watt suffered a torn pec in his team's Week 1 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, although he didn't tear the tendon. While there were initial concerns the injury would be season-ending, he was able to avoid surgery and was instead given a six-week timeline to return.
Following knee surgery, Watt now may not return until after Week 9.
The Steelers placed the pass-rusher on injured reserve, but he did indicate he will return in gif form:
A healthy Watt would be huge for the Steelers, who are looking to reach the playoffs for the third straight season.
The 27-year-old is the league's reigning Defensive Player of the Year after totaling an NFL-best 22.5 sacks in 2021. He added 64 tackles with 21 tackles for loss, which also led the league.
Watt has been a force on the edge since being selected in the first round of the 2017 draft, totaling 72 sacks in his first five seasons with four Pro Bowl selections and three first-team All-Pro honors. He has tallied at least 13 sacks in each of the last four years, leading the league twice in the category.
The Wisconsin product was on his way to another strong start with a sack and an interception in Week 1, but the injury slowed him down.
Watt will hope for a strong second-half of the season to help the 1-3 Steelers.