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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker TJ Watt.

Oh man. The rumor that was feared to be true about Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker TJ Watt is no longer a rumor.

Speculation grew on Oct. 7 after Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Watt suffered a setback that would delay his return to the field.

At the time, all Fittipaldo had to do was hunch and observe cover practice at the Steelers South Side facility.

“I mean, last Wednesday he was working there,” Fittipaldo told the Cook & Joe Show. “He was visible in training and since then he hasn’t been in training. I didn’t see him at the Jets game, so a lot of people put two and two together, and I’m on that side. I think some sort of setback happened with his rehab. So I don’t think he’ll be a candidate to come out of IR next week, even if he’s eligible.

Watt tore a pectoral muscle in Pittsburgh’s Week 1 win at Cincinnati. Since the injury did not require surgery as initially thought, his return was expected after six weeks.

The day after Fittipaldo news, ESPN Adam Schefter confirmed on October 8 that Watt did suffer a setback. But it was not with the rehabilitation of the pectorals. Instead, the All-Pro defender required arthroscopic surgery for a knee injury sustained in the Steelers’ preseason finale on August 28 against the Detroit Lions.

Although players are now eligible to return from injured reserve (short-term) after four weeks, Watt’s first game back was scheduled to take place around Pittsburgh’s Week 8 battle with the Philadelphia Eagles.

There were still two weeks to go before Watt’s potential return, so he could always be back within the original time frame. However, Schefter sources say the surgery will likely push her back past the Nov. 6 bye week in Pittsburgh. “The Steelers will not rush Watt and will diligently monitor the reaction of his knee and pectoral muscle,” Schefter wrote. “The team, however, are no longer counting on Watt to return before the bye week, sources say.”

The Steelers host the Saints in Week 10 (November 13) before a rematch against the Bengals on Sunday Night Football (November 20).

Steelers fans react to TJ Watt surgery news

It’s only Week 5, and all is not lost with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season. But since they are winless without TJ Wattthe near future does not look bright.

@BaddestBearJew tweeted“TJ Watt taking his time to regain his health is far more important than rushing his return.”

@ay_taybay wants to lend a hand to TJ Watt. “I’m going to offer parts to TJ Watt to help him get back in place”, she tweeted.

@SteelersGangWest asks fans to change their minds about TJ Watt having to return before the bye week.

Watt’s brother, JJ Watt, has a long list of injuries he suffered over the 11 seasons. @MikeAsti11 hopes that “TJ doesn’t suffer the same fate as JJ with career-derailing injuries.”

This popular spongebob meme accurately describes how Steelers fans feel.