For the first time since suffering a shoulder injury that necessitated surgery in late October, J.J. Watt addressed his rehab process.
The Arizona Cardinals star pass rusher told Houston teenager Maanav Gupta, on his YouTube show, Maanav's Sports Talk, that rehab is "going really well."
"It's going much better than we could've hoped or expected for it to go at this time," Watt said, via the Cardinals' official website. "I'm feeling really good. I'm doing a lot of stuff to try and push it as hard as I can to smartly and safely get back as fast as I can."
In October, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the injury wasn't limited to Watt's shoulder. The former Defensive Player of the Year suffered a torn labrum, bicep, rotator cuff, and separated shoulder.
Surgery wiped out Watt's regular season. Rapoport previously characterized it as a "long shot" that Watt could return for the postseason.
Watt, however, is pushing to get back on the field.
"I tear everything in my shoulder against the Texans in October," Watt said. "My first reaction is, "Damn, I'm on a team that's 7-0, we're finally looking like we have a great team and have an opportunity to do something special, and now I blow my shoulder out. Dang, all this work for nothing, and now I'm done.'
"They tell me I'm done, I have to get surgery, and it's going to take four to six months. I'm sitting there, and I can easily pout and easily say, 'Woe is me, four-to-six months, I'll do what I have to do.' But instead, I said, 'Nah, I'm not going to accept that.' "
Since getting off to their hot start, the Cards have stumbled of late, losing four of the past seven games, highlighted by back-to-back losses. Sunday's blowout defeat at the hands of the previously one-win Lions is a low-point for Arizona. Sans Watt, the defense has been run over, including giving up 112 yards to Lions' Craig Reynolds in Week 15.
Despite the tumble, the 10-4 Cards remain in first place in the NFC West, holding the tiebreaker over the L.A. Rams. If Arizona avoids a disastrous season-ending run, they'll be a postseason player. At that time, we'll see if Watt's push to play pays off.