This Sunday the Pittsburgh Steelers will welcome the New England Patriots to Acrisure stadium. This is who we can expect to be on the field, and who will be out due to injury.
One of my favorite things to do is keep track of the injury report for the week. We, for the most part find out who will be playing on Friday when the final practice of the week is over. After week 1 the Steelers have already been bitten by the injury bug. A few notable names popped up on the injury report, who will be available against the Patriots this Sunday?
Najee Harris – Playing
In the 4th quarter of Sundays outing, star running back Najee Harris went down after a nasty looking tackle. Eventually getting up and limping off on his own, Steeler Nation originally thought it was a re-aggravation of the lisfranc injury that sidelined him for most of the preseason. But some media sources speculated it was in fact an ankle sprain.
Coach Tomlin confirmed in his press conference on Tuesday that he did not aggravate his foot injury. However, the belief was a high ankle sprain would make him questionable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Harris was a full participant in Thursday’s practice as well as Friday’s practice. It is my belief Najee will play but on a limited snap count basis. The Steelers official injury report has Najee’s injury label as ”foot”.
T.J. Watt – Out
Shortly after Najee went down another familiar name followed. TJ Watt was seen walking off the field late in the 4th quarter tapping his chest murmuring the words “I tore my pec”. Of course this sent waves through social media, with fans chalking up losing the Defensive Player of the Year.
Recent news confirmed it is indeed a torn pectoral muscle however, the silver lining is he did not tear the tendon in the muscle. With Watt avoiding surgery, the Steelers announced Thursday they would place Watt on the injured reserve. Watt will have to miss a minimum of four games but the initial timeframe is for him to return in six weeks. This is one of the best case scenarios for the Steelers when the worst case looked inevitable.
Mason Cole – Playing
One of the most questioned groups this off-season has been the offensive line, health has been a point of emphasis with the lack of quality depth. Pittsburgh’s center, Mason Cole sprained his ankle Sunday but did eventually return in the game. Tomlin did mention Cole in his injury report portion of the press conference but expressed that he should be available for week 2. It should be noted he was a limited participant in both Wednesday and Thursday practices, but was a full participant on Friday.
Bumps and Bruises
Tomlin was quoted saying “bumps and bruises” when describing other players on the injury report that he wasn’t too concerned about missing. Two Steelers were under this classification Levi Wallace and Robert Spillane. Levi Wallace has an ankle issue, he was a limited participant Wednesday but a full go on Thursday an Friday. Robert Spillane showed up with as Tomlin described “a rare eye injury”, he was a full participant in Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday practices. Fans were worried about Cameron Heyward’s status heading into the week, he did show up on the list but only as a veterans day off, he will be good to go Sunday.
|Najee Harris||RB||Foot||Limited Participation||Full |
|Mason Cole||C||Ankle||Limited Participation||Limited |
|Levi Wallace||CB||Ankle||Limited Participation||Full |
|Robert Spillane||LB||Eye||Full Participation||Full |
|Cameron Heyward||DT||Not injury|
|Did Not Participate||Limited |
|T.J. Watt||LB||Pectoral||Did Not Participate||Placed on Injured Reserve|
Nobody carried the ’game time decision’ tag after a week full of practices which is great news for Pittsburgh. The Steelers will have to climb an uphill battle to go 2-0 on the season with the absence of TJ Watt. With most of the roster still intact for this weekend, it is definitely a hill that can be conquered. If the Steelers can stay healthy that would be a major positive heading into week 3.