The Houston Texans have suffered a blow after it was confirmed J.J. Watt has sustained a fresh back problem and has been placed on injured reserve.
Watt underwent back surgery in July to repair a herniated disk and missed training camp and most of Houston's preseason schedule.
And the Texans, who lost in NFL for the first time this season in last Thursday's 27-0 beating at the hands of the New England Patriots, have confirmed the defensive end has been placed on injured reserve.
Watt played most of last season with torn torso and groin muscles and the herniated disk.
He has made eight tackles and recorded one-and-a-half sacks so far this season.
Adversity sucks.-- JJ Watt (@JJWatt) September 28, 2016
Your attitude towards it doesn't have to.
I will be back. pic.twitter.com/56lhtHYs7r
Watt later posted on Twitter, writing: "I haven't missed a game since my sophomore year of high school. This won't be fun, but it is necessary in order for me to return 100 per cent and play at the level I am capable of playing at.
"Everybody deals with adversity in their lives, many much worse than what I'm going through. I have great people around me and I appreciate the thoughts and well wishes from all of you.
"I am looking forward to the fight back to the top and to the next time that I can step back on that field with my brothers to play the game that I love.
"You are the best fans in the world and I promise to continue to do everything in my power to make you proud."
Antonio Smith, who was with the Texans from 2009-13 and a Pro Bowler in 2011, has been signed to the Texans' roster as cover for Watt.
Houston will aim to bounce back from the defeat against the Patriots when they take on the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.