Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt expects to return to action during Sunday's (November 13) game against the New Orleans Saints after missing the past seven games due to a pectoral injury.
Watt was placed on injured reserve in September after experiencing what NFL Network Senior Insider Ian Rapoport described as a "torn pec muscle" during Pittsburgh's Week 1 overtime win against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year shared a gif of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator saying "I'll be back" amid reports that he was expected to rehabilitate his pectoral tear rather than opting for season-ending surgery, which would've been necessary had he torn the tendon.
Rapoport and fellow NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero both reported that rehabilitation was an option for Watt as he gathered multiple opinions on the injury.
"#Steelers LB TJ Watt suffered a torn pec muscle, but did not tear the tendon. That’s why, as he says, he’ll be back," Rapoport tweeted. "It’s about six weeks of rehab, then Watt could be able to return — with no surgery."
Watt recorded six tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack in Week 1 before appearing to mouth "tore (my) pec" while coming off the field after his final snap of the game.
The former Wisconsin standout is coming off a career season in which he tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan as the NFL's single-season sack record holder (22.5), earning his first NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, as well as having being selected as a first-team All-Pro for the third consecutive year and Pro Bowler for the fourth consecutive year.
Watt also signed a four-year, $112 million extension with Pittsburgh prior to the 2021 season, which included a $35 million signing bonus and $80 guaranteed during the next three seasons, making him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.