It seems like every time Pittsburgh Steelers fans log on to Twitter, there’s a mysterious new report about the case of TJ Watt’s chest injury.
On Monday afternoon, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport said Watt doesn’t expect a firm word on his condition until Tuesday and that his diagnosis could be anywhere between a short, multi-week rehab period and surgery that could “kick him out at least until the end of the season.” .”
From the NFL now: The # steel And TJ Watt is weighing the options surrounding his chest muscle injury, with only rehabilitation and surgery as options. Plus more about RB Nagy Harris and his introduction. pic.twitter.com/rYAwSyWHff
– Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 12, 2022
By Monday night, Rapoport updated this look to about six weeks on the shelf, without surgery.
# steel TJ Watt, Defensive Player of the Year, is still waiting for more information, but the belief is that his thoracic injury will not require surgery and is not the end of the season, sources tell me and Tweet embed. It could be back in six weeks or so. pic.twitter.com/jf4JTyutJf
– Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 13, 2022
CBS’s Jonathan Jones hears “optimism” that Watt may be back in a month.
There is some optimism today in Pittsburgh that OLB and Reigning Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt hasn’t experienced a complete muscle rupture and will be able to come back after sitting for a month or so, according to a league source. I’m still waiting for word from the team.
– Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) September 12, 2022
ESPN’s Adam Shifter has Watt out between six weeks and the rest of the season depending on whether surgery is necessary.
TJ Watt, the Steelers’ Defensive Player of the Year, will get the second and third medical opinions regarding torn chest muscles on Tuesday, according to sources. If doctors decide Watt needs surgery, his season will likely be over; If he does not need surgery, he will likely be back in six weeks.
– Adam Scheffer (@AdamSchefter) September 12, 2022
Let’s sum up all of these possibilities for the Steelers: It’s somewhere between really bad and a death bout for the season.
As confusing as the medical reports were, the one thing that’s most confusing to me is how hard some people have worked to downplay what Watt’s absence would mean for the Steelers.
Offson, Pittsburgh fans, and members of the media were telling anyone listening that Watt should be Defensive Player of the Year On the likes of Aaron Donald and Micah Parsons, because no defensive player influences his team more than Watt. After all, the team’s record when Watt was inactive or left the game early was 0-4-1. They were 9-3 in the matches they played in the full competition.
In fact, I’ll go further and say in those losses where Watt played in full road games in Cincinnati, Green Bay, and Kansas City – he dumped them and played amid injuries from the previous week.
So, those arguments were valid. Watt was every vital part to the success or failure of the Steelers.
“TJ is doing some pretty unnatural things that a lot of people just can’t do,” Steelers defensive captain Cameron Heyward said Monday.
However, I’m being told now (like recently An edition of the final WPXI word) that Pittsburgh fans shouldn’t be too concerned because the Steelers replaced Denver Broncos outside quarterback Malik Reed and, you know, the “next man” no!
“I’m definitely ready,” Reed said of the challenge of replacing Watt. “I’m definitely ready for that and ready to embrace it.”
I love Reid. It was a good truck and a valuable depth player. Maybe even start able. But there is still a long way to go from ‘capable starter’ to Defensive Player of the Year.
Many fans built the argument that the Steelers could have done better than their 9-7-1 record last year if Watt could have avoided losing as much playing time as he did. But now he will miss more matches – not to mention injured Nagy Harris.
And I’m still supposed to believe more than nine Steelers wins? How will this work, exactly?
Another quarterback, Alex Highsmith, made a great game Sunday at Cincinnati with three sacks. Would he be able to replicate Watt’s production, though, if he was the one who should be the focal point of blocking schemes to oppose offensive coordinators?
In other words, be Batman instead of Robin.
“I’m just trying to get in and do my job,” Highsmith said on Monday. “I know he’s going to work his butt back on as quickly as he can.”
One of the frustrating things about the timing of Watt’s injury (and Harris, too), is that over the next three weeks, the Steelers will have three seemingly win-win games against the Patriots, Browns and Jets.
It can at least be won based on the defense dominance you saw on Sunday in Cincinnati. If that defense can upset an attack worthy of a Super Bowl like the Bengals’ attack – which put 65 points on the board in two games against the Steelers last year – then coordinator Teryl Austin should be able to come up with a game plan good enough to swallow those three offenses.
The Patriots scored just seven points in the opening game. The planes had only nine. The Browns scored 26 against the poor Carolina Panthers, but they were one-dimensional, receiving 217 from 355 total yards on the floor.
With Watt injured, the confrontations will become even more even. Not to mention how things will look for the Steelers when they have to fly to Buffalo in Week 5 and host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6, assuming Watt is still out of the lineup by then.
The Steelers stole a win in Cincinnati. One that most fans didn’t expect as they tried to find nine or 10 wins on the schedule en route to avoiding the franchise’s first losing season since 2003. If they bring back one or two losses, they shouldn’t because Watt is out, overtime turmoil won’t loom The cheerleader at the Bengals on Sunday.
It’s not just gains and losses that we fool ourselves when it comes to Watt. I remember when asked Mark Madden from TribLIVE Some aspects of Watt were given a $112 million contract extension, in part because of his brother JJ Watt’s long history of major injuries. A lot of people told him that’s an unfair comparison, just because they’re brothers.
I think in this respect making a brother-to-brother comparison is quite right, though, isn’t it?
Look, I don’t blame the people of Pittsburgh for living in hope. Watt is a very exciting player, and I want to see him come back ASAP too. And I’m not asking anyone to give up the season after just one week of it.
What I’m saying is that – no matter how long or short his time abroad – there is a truth about Watt’s injury that Steelers fans have to accept. Whether they choose to do it now or if they need to see it with their own eyes is up to them, but Watt’s absence will negatively impact the team’s record.
It wouldn’t help to deny what we all witnessed when he missed out so much a season ago.
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