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Arizona Cardinals' J.J. Watt designated to return from injured reserve

Arizona Republic logo Arizona Republic 1/8/2022 Dana Scott and José M. Romero, Arizona Republic

J.J. Watt is set for a comeback this season.

The Arizona Cardinals announced Friday their veteran All-Pro defensive end has been designated to return from the Reserve/Injured list.

Watt wasn't on the practice field at Cardinals headquarters on Friday morning, but he can start practicing and the team can activate him to its 53-man roster at any time during the next 21 days or at the conclusion of the three-week period.

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Watt was placed on the IR Nov. 6 after he suffered a shoulder injury in Arizona's home win over his former team, the Houston Texans, on Oct. 24. The original time frame for his rehab and recovery was four to six months.

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters on Friday that Watt won't play in their final regular season game, at home against the Seattle Seahawks (6-10) this Sunday. Therefore, he will be ready for the playoffs and designating him for return is procedural.

"He's done all that he can do in the training facility, in the weight room and then some," Kingsbury said. "He's attacked that rehab just like you assumed he would. Nobody's ever seen anybody go at it quite like he has over the last couple months. It's been awe-inspiring to watch him every day."

Watt totaled 16 tackles, including five for loss, and one forced fumble during the Cardinals' undefeated 7-0 run this year before he was injured.

Since he's been sidelined for their past nine games, Watt has been frequently seen at Cardinals' open media portions of their practices doing individual drills to rehabilitate  himself, including Thursday.

"It's big time to have that type of player come back and be around your guys, and everybody in this building has the utmost respect for what he's accomplished and how he works and what he's about," Kingsbury said. "It's great to have him and guys definitely perk up anytime he's around."

Even if Watt is only able to play a few snaps when he is ready, Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson said that would be huge. 

"He's a leader for us. Just having a guy like that getting pressure on the QB, it's always a big help," Thompson said. 


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Watt is among a group of Cardinals not expected to play Sunday with the NFC West title still on the line going into the regular season finale. Kingsbury said running back Chase Edmonds (ribs/toe injuries) is out and the team hopes to get him back next week. Defensive end Jordan Phillips (knee) also did not practice and is also out but could return for the playoffs. 

Wide receiver Rondale Moore and cornerback Marco Wilson will miss Sunday's game, Kingsbury said. Moore, Wilson and Edmonds did not participate in the part of Cardinals practice open to media on Friday.

Running back James Conner participated in practice, but the Cardinals could turn to other healthy running backs and limit Conner's workload on Sunday.

Humble Hudson

Cardinals center Rodney Hudson was asked about being talked about as an unsung hero on the team, for how much he means to the offensive line and offense as a whole. 

"I just try to show up and try to do the best I can, you know, ne accountable, be a good teammate and be there to help out on Sundays," Hudson said. 

Oct 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) celebrates with center Rodney Hudson (61) after scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Rams 37-20. © Kirby Lee, Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) celebrates with center Rodney Hudson (61) after scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Rams 37-20.

Hudson said in helping quarterback Kyler Murray have confidence in him, he prepares as best he can and trusts what he sees on the field in games, then goes out and tries to execute to the best of his abilities.

Seeking a Seattle sweep

Thompson said a win over Seattle this week, which would be a sweep of the two games this season, would be meaningful for the Cardinals.

"A lot of teams in the NFC think that we're kind of like the low-level team I guess you could say. A lot of teams, I feel, don't have a lot of respect for us," Thompson said. "If we went out and beat them (the Seahawks) in every single game this year, I feel like that would be real big for us, just respect-wise."

Have tips for us? Reach the reporter at dana.scott@azcentral.com or at 480-486-4721. Follow his Twitter @iam_DanaScott.

Get in touch with Jose Romero at Jose.Romero@gannett.com. Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM. 

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Cardinals' J.J. Watt designated to return from injured reserve

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