The Houston Texans are still unsure if defensive end J.J. Watt will play in the first two regular-season games, coach Bill O'Brien told ESPN's Ed Werder on Friday.
Watt has been on the physically able to perform (PUP) list since July 25 after he had surgery on a herniated disk in his back.
O'Brien said he is encouraged by Watt's recovery and that "everything is going in the right direction."
"I don't think we can predict whether he'll be ready for Week 1 or Week 2, but he's going to be ready sooner rather than later," O'Brien told Werder.
Watt was originally reported to miss 6-10 weeks after the surgery -- with six weeks being the beginning of September. The Texans open the season at home against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 11.
Watt has never missed a regular-season game in his five seasons in the NFL. He finished last season with 17.5 sacks, while playing with a broken hand and five torn muscles in his core area.