On the eve of possibly Arizona’s biggest game of the season, they have lost one of their most important defensive players, as J.J. Watt looks set to miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
The Cardinals host the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night in a matchup for early control of the NFC. Arizona is 7-0, and Green Bay is 6-1, producing, perhaps, the best Thursday night game of the Super Bowl era. It’s the highest combined winning percentage (.929) for a Thursday game in October or later during the Super Bowl era and the first time since the 1970 merger that two teams with at least 13 combined wins meet in Week 8 or earlier.
Defensive end J.J. Watt will undergo what is likely to be season-ending shoulder surgery, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday night. No date has been set for the procedure.
Cardinals’ DE J.J. Watt will undergo what is now likely to be season-ending shoulder surgery, sources tell ESPN. No date set yet for surgery.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2021
Watt hurt his shoulder in the second quarter Sunday and still managed to play the rest of the game with the injury. pic.twitter.com/Y2pzFV8sFQ
Watt, in his first year with the Cardinals, injured his shoulder in the second quarter Sunday, yet still managed to play the rest of the game with the injury. He finished with a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.
The undefeated Cardinals, who currently sit in first place in the NFC, ruled Watt out against the Packers when the injury report was released earlier Wednesday. He didn’t participate in the Cardinals’ only practice of the week on Tuesday. Turns out, his status was much worse.
Watt had recently found his groove in the Cardinals’ defense after needing about four games to both to get his football legs under him after missing all of training camp because of a hamstring injury and getting acclimated to a new defense.Embed from Getty Images
J.J. Watt has one sack, 16 total tackles and 10 quarterback hits in 2021. The 32-year-old defender has played 77 percent of the defensive snaps this season.
“I think J has played well the last three weeks,” Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said before Sunday’s win against the Houston Texans.
“He missed camp, so the first couple games during the season, he wasn’t in form. From the Rams game, the San Fran game last week, to [Sunday], he’s played at a high level. He’s so disruptive. He’s making plays. The sack numbers are not there, but as far as the plays he’s made on third downs, knocking balls down, making TFLs on first and second down, he’s been a dominant player the last three weeks.”Embed from Getty Images
Though Watt will be out, the Cardinals will get back pass-rusher Chandler Jones, who missed the past two games because of COVID-19. He was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday.
A win would make the Cardinals 8-0 in the NFL for the first time in franchise history.
Additionally, Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is listed as questionable on the injury report heading into Thursday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers will likely be without wideouts Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, with both landing on the COVID-19 list.