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J.J. Watt's recovery: All-Pro to set resume training in two months

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The Texans officially placed star defensive lineman J.J. Watt on injured reserve this week, ending his season after he re-injured his back. By rule, Houston can bring back one player off injured reserve after eight weeks, but there are no plans to do so for Watt.

His season is over, and unlike the 2016 winter and spring when he had two surgeries, he'll now get a full offseason in 2017 to recover and prepare.

While Houston will likely start Christian Covington in place of Watt, with Jadeveon Clowney at left defensive end, Watt's long road is just beginning. What lies ahead?

Earlier in the week, L.A.-based spinal expert Dr. Robert Watkins performed successful surgery on Watt, a discectomy on the same disc he'd injured this spring, according to sources informed of his situation. There is always a risk of another herniation, and that's what happened near the nerve. He passed all tests he needed to pass to play. Yet injury still struck twice.

Watt suffered from a lack of strength against the Patriots, and he knew something wasn't right. He was limping. After the game, Watt felt like he was back to where he was before his original surgery. After seeking opinions from experts, the decision was made to do surgery again.

Watt will stay in L.A. early on in his rehab, away from Houston with only a focus on recovery. He'll walk on the beach and rehab. In three or four weeks, he should be feeling somewhat normal, and he can resume training in under two months.

But consider what Watt has been through since last season: Last year, he played through five partially or fully torn core muscles. He had surgery, and that led to a miserable rehab. Then he was training in Wisconsin and suffered the back injury. That led to his other surgery, then his race to get back.

The Texans have no long-term concerns about Watt. But the hope from Watt and those who know him well is that a full, slow recovery will be to his benefit.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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