J.J. Watt Needs Practice Test, But Return To Games Grows Closer

So, J.J. Watt was asked, would he be completing his amazing comeback this week from an obliterated shoulder to play for the Cardinals on Sunday.

“I will not be playing on Sunday,” the veteran defensive end said bluntly.

The response was solid, although Watt quickly noted that of course his team doesn’t play the Rams in a Wild Card playoff game until Monday. And while Watt is moving quickly in the direction of being available, both he and coach Kliff Kingsbury still aren’t saying for sure what will happen.

“From a performance standpoint, I’m not going to put myself on the field if it’s going to put my team in a worse situation,” Watt said. “That’s not even a question.

“I’m not going to step on the field if I am not able to do the things that I need to do to help us win games.”

Watt has gone up against offensive linemen off to the side, in simulated plays, simulated drives, simulated halves of games. But he hasn’t truly practiced, and that is scheduled to happen Thursday, when the Cards practice for the first time this week, “to put it into a full-blown team situation,” he said.

Watt will wear a harness on his shoulder, something he has already worn for a couple of weeks.

“If you practice like it’s a game, you don’t have to wonder what the game is going to be like,” Watt said. “If…

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Darren Urban

Darren Urban

NFL - Cardinals

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Working my 23rd season covering the Arizona Cardinals. Opinions are my own, not the team’s. Warning and a promise: Sarcasm can be found here. @Cronkite_ASU