Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is expected to miss up to a month with his hamstring injury, according to a report by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Johnson was injured on the first offensive series of the second half of the Steelers’ 30-7 Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had already ruled Johnson out of the team’s Week 2 game against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. The Steelers were waiting for Johnson to get an MRI to make a full diagnosis.
Second-year player Calvin Austin III replaced Johnson on Sunday and will likely be elevated into a starting role, with No. 6 wide receiver Gunner Olszewski also getting a chance to dress.
“I feel real comfortable with our in-house people, Gunner and others, in terms of elevating and being ready,” Tomlin said.
No. 5 receiver Miles Boykin is also dealing with an injury, so the Steelers may need to call up a player from the practice squad.
On Tuesday, the team added speedy rookie wide receiver Jacob Copeland out of Maryland to that group, joining Simi Fehoko and Dez Fitzpatrick as call-up options.
The Steelers will play the Cleveland Browns on Monday, then at the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3, Houston Texans in Week 4 and return home to face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5.
The Steelers have a bye in Week 6, so if Johnson does miss the entire four weeks, he will not return to action until the team’s Week 7 game at the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 22.
Johnson led the Steelers in targets, receptions, receiving yards and catches for a first down in 2022, and his loss will be a significant hurdle for an offense that struggled even with its top receiving weapon in the first game on Sunday.