J.J. Watt is out until at least December and could miss the rest of the season with an injured back, leaving the Texans searching for ways to deal with the loss of the NFL’s best defensive player.



Watt was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, which means he’ll be out for a minimum of eight weeks.



“You can never replace the best player in the NFL,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “When someone like that goes down, it’s a tough thing obviously, but at the same time ... this is a team.



“A team made up of some really good veteran leaders, some really good young players. We’re looking forward to the challenges that are ahead.”



O’Brien said Watt had re-injured his back and putting him on IR was the best thing for his long-term health.



“It’s flared up to the point where he can’t continue to play right now,” O’Brien said. “Going on IR will give J.J. all the time he needs to make sure that he’s 100 percent healthy and back to being himself.”



The team was still exploring the injury and it’s unclear if it will require surgery.



Watt, who has won the 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.



Bryant gets diagnosis



Dez Bryant has a slight hairline fracture in a bone in his right knee, though Dallas coach Jason Garrett says the receiver might not miss a game.



Bryant didn’t practice Wednesday, three days after getting hurt in a win over Chicago, and the same day the team got back results of an MRI.



“We’ve had players with this kind of injury who missed no time in the past and other players who have missed up to a week or more than that,” Garrett said. “We’ll see how he does. When he comes in [Thursday], see how he feels and we’ll make our evaluations there as we go forward.”



Bryant injured the knee on his first catch on the opening series against the Bears, but came back in the first quarter. He caught his first touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter of the 31-17 win.



Seahawks grab Spiller



The Seattle Seahawks signed veteran C.J. Spiller to a one-year contract to add depth at running back.



The team finalized the deal and added Spiller to the 53-man roster after releasing running back Terrence McGee. McGee was signed late last week from Seattle’s practice squad and had three carries for 12 yards in Seattle’s 37-18 victory over San Francisco on Sunday.



Spiller was released by New Orleans on Sept. 13 after being inactive in Week 1 with the Saints choosing to go with a backfield of Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower, Travaris Cadet and Daniel Lasco. Spiller rushed for only 112 yards in very limited opportunities with the Saints last season.



Cardinals sign three



The Arizona Cardinals have signed long-snapper Aaron Brewer, punter Ryan Quigley and linebacker Joplo Bartu.



Brewer replaces rookie Kameron Canady, who was released by the club Tuesday. Brewer was the long snapper of the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos the past four seasons. He spent the preseason with the Chicago Bears before being released in the team’s final roster cuts.



Quigley is needed because punter Drew Butler is out with an ankle injury.



Cutler makes return



Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler returned to practice on a limited basis after missing a game because of a sprained right thumb.



Cutler was injured against Philadelphia on Sept. 19 and sat out last week’s 31-17 loss at Dallas. Veteran Brian Hoyer went 30 of 49 for 317 yards filling in against the Cowboys and would likely start again if Cutler is not available against Detroit this week.



The Bears (0-3) have battled a long line of injuries, and on top of that, coach John Fox missed practice because of a stomach illness on Wednesday.