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Kenny Pickett Practices without Knee Brace on Thursday



Steelers Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett at practice on Sept. 27, 2023. -- Ed Thomspon / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett practiced without a brace on his injured left knee on Thursday, he confirmed to Steelers Now on Thursday. Pickett said he felt fine without needing the brace.

Pickett said on Wednesday that whether or not he had to wear the brace in the game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday was dependent on how he felt in practice.

“It depends on how the week goes and how I feel Sunday, if I need it or not,” Pickett said.

In that regard, he seems likely to not need the brace on Sunday. Pickett was wearing a sleeve over his left calf. It has been reported that in addition to his left knee bruise, Pickett also has been dealing with a muscle strain.

Not needing a brace could be a big deal. Pickett chafed at being forced to wear one in college by Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi. Pickett suffered a knee injury against Georgia Tech in 2018 while he wasn’t wearing a brace — and was expected to be by Narduzzi.

“I thought he was,” Narduzzi said. “[Offensive coordinator Shawn] Watson and I talked about it probably [Friday] night or something like that. ‘Kenny doesn’t want to wear the knee brace.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t care what Kenny wants to do, Kenny’s going to wear that knee brace.’”

Pickett said he felt limited in his ability to run with the ball when he was wearing a brace. He did wear the brace the rest of that season, joking, “I think coach is going to make me wear it to class.”

Later, he and Narduzzi came to an agreement that Pickett did not have to wear it, as long as he did not take unnecessary hits. Narduzzi emphasized the importance of teaching Pickett how to slide, which may have inadvertently set up his viral fake slide in the 2021 ACC Championship Game.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada said that he will not modify the game plan or exclude things from his play sheet because of Pickett’s injury, and said the team is focused on moving forward with Pickett as the starting quarterback this week instead of getting backup Mitch Trubisky ready to play.

Pickett was officially listed as limited in practice on Wednesday. The team has not yet released its practice report for Thursday.

Sights & Sounds: Kenny Pickett Tests Knee at Practice