By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) - The Houston Texans have placed star defensive end J.J. Watt on injured reserve and his return this season is in doubt.
Coach Bill O'Brien announced Wednesday that Watt had re-injured his back and that putting him on IR was the best thing for his long-term health.
The team was still exploring the injury and it's unclear if it will require surgery. He is not expected back before December, if at all.
Watt, who has won Defensive Player of the Year for the past two seasons, missed training camp and Houston's four preseason games after surgery in July to repair a herniated disk in his back. He started each of the team's three regular-season games and got hurt again Thursday against the Patriots.
The Texans signed veteran defensive end Antonio Smith to take his spot on the roster.
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