Pittsburgh Steelers star T.J. Watt on the sidelines. Sep 18, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) stands on the sideline during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers star outside linebacker T.J. Watt has been out of action since suffering a torn pectoral muscle in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Watt has been making good progress (with a viral video showing proof) from that injury, and the hope was that he could return by Oct. 30 (when the Steelers face the Philadelphia Eagles).

However, another health issue will delay the return of the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Watt recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery that is “likely to delay his return by another week or two,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Schefter notes that Watt “had the knee surgery to clean up a preseason injury that lingered into the regular season, according to sources.”

In 2021, Watt tied Michael Strahan for the NFL single-season record for 22.5 sacks. That was even with Watt missing two games. The six-year NFL veteran has had at least 13 sacks in four consecutive seasons. Doing so in 2022 — he had one sack in Week 1 — would now seem to be an extreme longshot if he can’t return until November (and that’s if the rehab from two injuries goes smoothly).

The Steelers led the NFL in sacks in 2021 with 55 (four more than second place). This season, they have 10 sacks through four weeks, ranking 13th in the NFL.

Pittsburgh has lost three straight games to fall to 1-3, and the schedule is brutal through the end of October: at the Buffalo Bills, vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at the Miami Dolphins, and at the Philadephia Eagles.

Without Watt, and with a rookie quarterback starting in Kenny Pickett, the coming weeks are going to be an extremely difficult challenge for the Steelers. It’s easy to see this unraveling and becoming a very obvious rebuilding season for Pittsburgh, if there was any question of that.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.