Steelers lose All-Pro LB T.J. Watt to groin injury before falling to Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt left the first half of Sunday's defeat against the Las Vegas Raiders with a groin injury.

He didn't return for the second half after the Steelers downgraded him to out, leaving the Steelers without their best defensive player. The Raiders won, 26-17.

His long-term prognosis was not immediately clear.

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
T.J. Watt left Sunday's game with a groin injury. (Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Any time missed by Watt is a big blow for the Steelers. The runner-up for NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season, Watt was off to a hot start to 2021 prior to his injury. He recorded two sacks in Pittsburgh's season-opening win over the Buffalo Bills and sacked the Raiders' Derek Carr once on Sunday prior to leaving the game.

Watt, 26, led the NFL in sacks with 15 in 2020. He recorded 14.5 sacks in 2019 and 13 in 2018. A two-time All-Pro and three time Pro Bowler, Watt is critical to a Steelers team anchored by its defense. He signed a four-year extension worth about $112 million earlier this month to make him the NFL's highest-paid defensive player.