HOUSTON -- Texans defensive end J.J. Watt could play in the team's season opener against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 11.
Watt had back surgery in late July and has been on the preseason physically unable to perform list since then, but coach Bill O'Brien said Friday that "the arrow is pointing toward" the three-time Defensive Player of the Year's return in the season opener.
"I would say we're heading in the right direction," O'Brien said. "He certainly feels much better, obviously than he did two weeks ago. I don't think we're at the point today where we're going to say, 'we're going to activate him right now.' But I know that it looks decent for him to be able to play in the first game."
The Texans also have been without tackles Derek Newton (hamstring) and Duane Brown (quadriceps) during training camp. Newton was in pads during Thursday's preseason finale against the Cowboys, though he did not play.
O'Brien said Newton should be ready to practice this week and play against the Bears, but that he would likely not be able to play in the whole game because he missed almost all of training camp with the injury.
O'Brien said the team has not made a decision whether Brown will be put on the physically unable to perform list or when he will return to the field.
The Texans must get the roster down to 53 players before Saturday's NFL deadline, so O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith will have to make a decision on whether to put him on the PUP list by then.
Bill O'Brien: 'Arrow pointing toward' J.J. Watt playing in Week 1