Toughness is a prerequisite for any player aspiring to be an NFL superstar. Minor issues must be played through, and only the most severe injuries are enough to rule these kinds of franchise-altering players out of action for any appreciable amount of time.
T.J. Watt is one such player. It took a torn pectoral muscle to knock Watt out of action in 2022, an injury that cost him seven games — and, arguably, a playoff spot for the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Sunday, Watt sustained another injury that would keep many players sidelined for weeks — but the star edge rusher is going to play through it, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.
T.J. tears ligaments
It is unknown exactly when during Sunday’s game this happened, but at some point during Pittsburgh‘s 17-10 win over Baltimore, Watt dislocated a finger and tore multiple ligaments — but soldiered on to ensure the 3-2 Steelers would snag a share of the AFC North lead.
Watt will have an extra week to recover from this grisly injury, as Pittsburgh is on a bye in Week 6 and does not play again until Oct. 22 against the Los Angeles Rams. The Steelers defense needs Watt’s influence and leadership, critical elements to their huge win over the favored Ravens.
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Even with a badly-injured finger, Watt was not going to be slowed down in the critical divisional matchup with Baltimore. He recorded two sacks on MVP candidate Lamar Jackson, bringing his total to an NFL-best eight sacks through only five weeks.
Watt is two years removed from a 22.5-sack season and a Defensive Player of the Year award. Although he faces stiff competition early this season — notably, from Detroit Lions star Aidan Hutchinson — Watt is showing that his drive to succeed is nearly unparalleled, and he remains a strong candidate to win DPOY honors again. He is — arguably singlehandedly — keeping the Pittsburgh defense afloat without Cam Heyward.