The Houston Texans are getting an early Christmas gift in the form of three-time Defensive Player of the Year in star pass rusher J.J. Watt. According to Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, Houston has designated Watt to return off injured reserve on Tuesday, just around nine weeks after he suffered a torn pectoral muscle against the Raiders in Week 8. 

At the time, that injury was thought to be season-ending for Watt, as the defensive end even said as much on Twitter immediately following the injury in late October. Now, Watt is poised to not only return to the Texans but also provide much-needed defensive line production and depth as they will soon make a bid for a deep playoff run. 

Things started to move in this direction over the last few weeks. The Texans have kept one of their two IR-return designations available to them and Watt has reportedly been “determined” to return for the postseason. Head coach Bill O’Brien even noted last week that he “certainly made progress” and said “we will see” when talking about a pending return. When asked about it on Monday, O’Brien played his cards a little bit closer to the vest, electing to not comment on a Watt return, possibly because he already knew what is coming to light today. 

The Texans have already clinched the AFC South, so there isn’t too much to play for in this contest in Week 17, but whenever Watt officially makes it back onto the field, it’ll be a massive boost for Houston’s front seven.