J.J. Watt leaves stadium in ambulance, has a tibial plateau fracture

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) is helped off the field after he was injured during the first half against the Chiefs. (AP)

All Houston Texans fans had to be thinking the same thing early on Sunday night: Not again.

Last season, superstar defensive end J.J. Watt missed most of the season with a back injury. He returned, and although he wasn’t his dominant self for the first quarter of the season, he was still back in the lineup for a team that had played well in a 2-2 start. Then Watt couldn’t leave the field under his own power on Sunday night.

In the second half of Sunday night’s game Michele Tafoya on NBC said Watt had a tibial plataeu fracture of his left leg. The team confirmed that diagnosis. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens suffered a tibial plateau fracture in August and it was reported he’d need eight weeks to recover. In Hitchens’ case, it was considered better news than a torn ACL, which would have been a season-ending injury. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport cited a team source saying Watt would go on injured reserve.

Watt was helped off by trainers after going down. On a pass rush, Watt’s left leg just gave out. He was down for a while. He got up but needed help getting off the field with a grimace on his face. After a short while, Watt was shown hopping to the cart to go back to the locker room. He was ruled out of the game shortly after, which was no surprise.


Before the first half was over, NBC showed Watt coming out of the X-ray room at the stadium on crutches, and then being loaded in an ambulance to go to the hospital.

Watt is as good of a defender as the NFL has seen. He had three defensive player of the year awards, which tied Lawrence Taylor’s record, by the end of his fifth season. He was absolutely dominant. But he had a serious back injury last season and now is injured again.

Watt, one of the NFL’s biggest stars, also increased his profile with his fundraising efforts to help out Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Even if you’re not a Texans fan, nobody wanted to see Watt leave the field that way on Sunday night.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!