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J.J. Watt sheds cast for Friday practice

J.J. Watt practiced without his cast on Friday for the first time since he injured his left hand on Dec. 9. The progress is "definitely" encouraging, according to head coach Bill O'Brien. Whether or not Watt can begin playing without it though, is yet to be determined. 

"You have to have a club on that hand," O'Brien said Friday. "It's tough for defensive linemen when they can't have full use of their hand. I think we're trying that out. Whether that is what he'll wear on Sunday, not sure yet, but he tried it out in practice and that's what we're looking at."

Watt, who broke a bone in his left hand, has worn the protective cast for the last three games against New England, Indianapolis, and Tennessee. The three-time All-Pro has not missed any games since the injury and currently holds a streak with 79 consecutive starts. He currently leads the NFL in tackles for loss (26) and quarterback hits (46), while ranking second in sacks (14.5) through 16 games this season.

On Sunday, the Texans will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in the regular season finale. Kickoff is set for noon CT at NRG Stadium.

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