A few weeks ago, J.J. Watt's season was thought to be finished after he went down with a torn pectoral muscle in October.

That might not be the case anymore. 

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Watt could return in time for the playoffs -- or even earlier. 

Rapoport adds that Houston is saving their final injured reserve/designated spot for him and there is "real optimism from all parties" he could make his way back. He is reportedly doing "incredibly well" in his rehab and feels like he could go out and play now even if it's not a realistic goal.

In eight games so far this season, the five-time Pro Bowler has four sacks, 24 combined tackles and 20 quarterback hits. The season before, he registered 16 sacks and a league-leading seven forced fumbles while starting all 16 games. 

After their win over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots Sunday night, the Texans will be back in action in Week 14 against the Denver Broncos.