Sunday, J.J. Watt was smiling, having his new team run its record to 7-0 by beating his former team. Wednesday afternoon, the Cardinals announced the defensive end wouldn't play Thursday against the Packers because of a shoulder injury.
Wednesday night, multiple reports emerged that Watt was going to need surgery on the shoulder, and that it very well could end his season.
It's a cruel blow for the Cards on the eve of their biggest game of the season. The team has a chance to be the first in franchise history with an 8-0 start; Watt has played a big role as a disruptive force on the defensive line.
Now the Cards will have to rely on what has been a fairly deep defensive line, but no one in the category of Watt. Corey Peters remains on the Covid list, and Rashard Lawrence might miss the game with a calf injury. Jordan Phillips, the team's big free-agent signee in 2020, becomes that much more important.
NFL Network is reporting Watt's rehab would be at least three months. If true, the Cardinals would have to go deep in the playoffs for Watt to have any chance to return.
Now, among all the other things coach Kliff Kingsbury will be asked about postgame Thursday night, Watt likely jumps to the top of the list.