HOUSTON — Houston star defensive end J.J. Watt isn’t worried about people trying to come after him Sunday to take advantage of his broken left hand.

“Let them try,” Watt said. “I mean what? The opposing players come after me every week with every type of thing in the book you can think of. So feel free, go ahead come at me. I’ll take advantage of whatever you try to do. It’s my job to get to the quarterback. That’s what I do. You can try and take advantage of whatever you want to take advantage of.”

Watt broke his left hand in practice on Wednesday, but said he’ll play Sunday.

Watt, who leads the NFL with 13½ sacks, had a black cast covering his left hand and wrist on Thursday. But both Watt and Coach Bill O’Brien said they don’t expect the injury to hamper last year’s Defensive Player of the Year.

The Texans (6-6) host the New England Patriots (10-2) on Sunday night.

“People are going to try to make a big deal out of this, but I’ve played with worse than this before, even this season,” Watt said. “In a game of football you’re going to play with pain. If you don’t play with pain you’re probably in the wrong sport.”

Watt wouldn’t say exactly how he suffered the injury other than it was in practice playing football. He said he knew as soon as it happened that it was broken. Watt couldn’t remember if he’d ever played a game with a broken bone before at any level of football. Asked how long he expects to have to wear the cast, Watt said, “I don’t know how fast bones heal. I listen to the people who do.”

NEW ENGLAND’S Rob Gronkowski was back on the practice field Thursday, just 11 days after suffering a knee injury in a Sunday night loss to the Denver Broncos. With no timeline set on his return, Gronkowski, who sprained his right knee and also suffered a bone bruise, was back after missing four New England Patriots practices. He was wearing a brace on the knee.

The team’s injury report for the day had Gronkowski as one of nine players who had “limited participation” in the practice. The Friday report is more definitive.

The Patriots and the Gronkowski family issued a joint statement two days after the game saying there was no timetable for the tight end’s return.

Thursday’s workout was not in full pads and there was no indication whether Gronkowski will play Sunday night at Houston. Coach Bill Belichick monitored Gronkowski as he jogged before the practice.

The players met with the media before practice and Gronkowski, who normally talks on Thursdays, was not made available. Gronkowski is second on the Patriots with 57 receptions, trailing only Julian Edelman, who has missed the last three-plus games with a broken foot.