J.J. Watt's improbable return for the playoffs will end up being a last-minute decision.
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters on Saturday that the decision on Watt's return to the lineup will "come down to the wire."
Watt suffered a torn labrum, bicep, rotator cuff and separated shoulder in late October and underwent what was thought to be season-ending surgery soon after.
"It's been great having him out there," Kingsbury said. "We just got to get to Monday and see what his comfort level is and what he feels like and what we think he can do for us. We'll take it down to the wire with him. He's done everything humanly possible to put himself in this position. I know if he has it his way, he'll be out there but we got to be smart, do the right thing and make sure it's right for all parties involved."
Upon his return to practice this week, Kingsbury said that Watt turned in a "very limited" session on Thursday. Because Watt remains on injured reserve, the Cardinals DE isn't on the official injury report for Monday night's prime-time matchup versus the Rams.
In seven games this season, Watt compiled 16 total tackles with five tackles for loss, two pass deflections, a forced fumble and a sack. His imposing force on the defensive line didn't always show up on the stat sheet, but the five-time All-Pro enabled his fellow Cardinals defenders to make plays.
With Watt in the lineup, the Cardinals defense allowed just 16.3 points per game and it helped keep Arizona unbeaten through the first seven weeks. The Cardinals went 4-6 after Watt's injury, clinching a wild-card berth and finding themselves on the road for Super Wild Card Weekend.