J.J. Watt to miss training camp, preseason after back surgery

JJ Watt
JJ Watt (Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Texans star defensive lineman J.J. Watt had back surgery and will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list, KPRC Channel 2 sports has confirmed.

Watt is expected to miss training camp and the preseason. A player is eligible to come the list at any point prior to the regular season.

"A herniated disc is the most common injury we see," said Dr. Neil Badlani from the Orthopedic Sports Clinic. "The disc gets pressurized over time and that can cause a piece of the disc to bulge or herniate out of the space between the bones and into the space where the nerves in the spine are."

Badlani said the injury is very painful. The operation to fix a herniated disc normally comes after other conservative treatments, although an athlete make sure surgery in order to bypass playing with pain.

"There are findings that treating this patient with surgery will actually lead to a quicker recovery," Badlani said.

Opening day at NRG is Sept. 11. Dr. Badlani said it will be pushing it for Watt to play.

"A normal rehab process for this would be probably eight weeks minimum and that's really pushing it. It's probably more like 10 to 12 weeks. Again, there's variations depending on how big the herniated disc was or the individual athlete," he said.

Watt could be ready for the start of the season. In Watt's five-year career, he has never missed a regular season or playoff game, but Badlani said going back too soon could be opening up to recurring injury.

Watt has played only 25 snaps in preseason games over the last four seasons, while winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times.

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