The Pittsburgh Steelers enter Week 6 with a significant list of players dealing with injuries, as head coach Mike Tomlin detailed on Tuesday, with Tomlin even adding two players to the list of previously announced banged-up members of the Black and Gold.
Tomlin announced during his weekly press conference that tight end Zach Gentry is dealing with a knee injury and defensive tackle Montravius Adams Sr. has a hip issue.
Tomlin did not rule out any of his inured players for the team’s Week 6 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The big area of concern for the Steelers once again in the secondary, where strong safety Terrell Edmunds (concussion) and boundary cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) missed they Buffalo game in Week 5.
They were joined in the trainer’s room by cornerback Cam Sutton (hamstring) and boundary cornerback Levi Wallace (concussion), who both left that game with injuries.
Free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee) played through his injury, but could once again be limited in practice this week.
With so many absences, the Steelers leaned heavily on Tre Norwood at safety, Art Maulet at slot corner and Josh Jackson and James Pierre at outside corner. Safety Elijah Riley was also activated from the practice squad, but did not play.
Adams joins defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (back) as injured defensive linemen. Ogunjobi left the game early against the Bills and did not return. Cam Heyward played through elbow and ankle injuries and may again be limited this week, though Tomlin did not specifically name him in listing injured players Tuesday.
Tyson Alualu and Chris Wormley are the other available backups at defensive tackle, with Isaiahh Loudermilk a candidate to get a helmet on a game day for the first time this year if Ogunjobi can’t dress.
DeMarvin Leal has largely been playing rush end in sub packages, but can also play defensive end in the 3-4 base defense, where Ogunjobi plays when the Steelers use that package.
Gentry joins fellow tight end Pat Freiermuth on the injured list. Freiermuth is in the concussion protocol after taking a big hit in Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills. The second-year player has already had two concussions in his NFL career, and also dealt with head injuries during his time at Penn State, so the Steelers will likely want to proceed with caution in his return to action.
Third tight end Connor Heyward saw elevated playing time against the Bills and appears to be in line to do so once again this week. Rookie Rodney Williams is a candidate to be elevated from the practice squad.
Center Mason Cole was seen in a walking boot in the Steelers locker room on Monday, but he played in full on Sunday after being limited with a foot injury most of last week. It appears likely that he will continue to play but be less than 100%.
In the lone piece of good news, wide receiver/kick returner Steven Sims is expected to be able to play after suffering an eye injury on Sunday. Fellow wide receiver/kick returner Calvin Austin III remains on the injured reserve list entering his second week of practice while returning from a foot sprain.
Outside linebacker T.J. Watt (pectoral, knee surgery) and safety Damontae Kazee (arm) are both eligible to being practicing this week, but are not expected to.