J.J. Watt will have surgery next week to repair his injured shoulder, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed Thursday night, but he stopped short of saying the veteran defensive end will miss the rest of the season.
"I'm not sure on the exact timetable," Kingsbury said after the Cards suffered their first loss of the season, 24-21, to the Packers. "He'll have surgery and then we'll kind of take it from there."
NFL Network reported that Watt tore his labrum, bicep, and rotator cuff in addition to dislocating his shoulder.
In seven games, Watt totaled 16 tackles -- five for loss -- and a sack and two passes knocked down. He was rated third in pass-rush win rate among all interior defensive linemen in the NFL, and when combining it with run-stop win rate, Watt was the top interior defensive lineman in the league.
"I think a guy like that's irreplaceable, right?" Kingsbury said. "I mean, he was having a heck of a season. It's unfortunate that it happened, but we've got to get some other guys to step up."
The Cardinals were not only without Watt against the Packers, but Corey Peters (Covid list) and Rashard Lawrence (calf) were also still missing. Peters, at least, should be back for the 49ers.
During the game, linebacker Zaven Collins also went down with a shoulder injury, as did backup safety James Wiggins (knee).
But filling the void of the missing Watt – who was on the sideline Thursday night – is sizable.
"It's what the NFL is, man," linebacker Jordan Hicks said. "You've got to step up. There hasn't been one team I've been on that hasn't had an injury. Backups, guys that are role players have to step up and become the guy. It's NFL football, man."