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J.J. Watt: I can't put a solid start date on my return

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Still stashed away on the Houston Texans' physically unable to perform list, J.J. Watt acknowledged Sunday that he isn't certain when he'll return from back surgery.

"I can't put a solid start date on when I can play. I don't plan on missing my first game, but I can't promise it," Watt said, per the team's Twitter account. "I'm doing everything I can to protect my body, but the older I get, the more I realize you have to be smart."

Said Watt: "I feel good. My body feels good. It is just a matter of listening to (the doctors). I'll do whatever they tell me to do."

Coach Bill O'Brien said Sunday that Watt is "on the right track," but the Texans aren't about to rush the three-time Defensive Player of the Year back onto the field after he underwent a procedure this month to repair a herniated disc.

The team was initially hopeful that Watt would be ready for Week 1's showdown with the Chicago Bears, but NFL Media's Mike Garafolo noted that the All-Pro defensive end's recovery could take as long as 10 weeks. Back injuries, bottom line, are tough to predict.

As Chris Wesseling noted Saturday, Houston's roster is currently missing a pair of top-20 players with Watt on the mend and star wideout DeAndre Hopkins staging a surprise holdout. The Texans can't be viewed as a legitimate Super Bowl threat until both players are back in action.

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