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Will J.J. Watt return for Week 1?

On September 11, J.J. Watt could run out of the NRG Stadium tunnel for the starting lineup against the Chicago Bears for the season opener.

Or not.

Head coach Bill O'Brien remained cautiously optimistic about Watt's return for Week 1.

"I'm not committing to that, but I could definitely see that," O'Brien said Monday. "When I look into my crystal ball, I could see him playing the Chicago Bears. I can envision that. That's something that I'm envisioning. I'd like to see him in there for a number of our games this year."

Watt underwent back surgery just days before the start of training camp. After working his way back to the practice field following offseason groin surgery, the three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year had to miss all of training camp. He was also unable to travel with the team to Santa Clara for joint practice and the preseason opener with the 49ers.

Since then, Watt has been diligently rehabbing at the team's facility. O'Brien did not need a crystal ball to see the steady progress from his All-Pro defensive lineman.

"J.J. is progressing well," O'Brien said. "He's made a lot of improvement over the last couple of weeks. He's really on the right track. We feel good about where he is right now."

The Texans close out their 2016 preseason against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT on ABC-13 and SportsRadio 610.

A collection of photos of J.J. Watt from the 2015 season.

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