The Steelers victory over the New York Giants to open the 2020 season last Monday night was a painful one, as starting right tackle Zach Banner suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter that ended his 2020 season.
A week and two more ACL injuries later, and the playing surface at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands has come under fire from some around the NFL.
San Francisco 49ers defensive starters Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas both suffered apparent ACL injuries while playing the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, making three season-ending knee injuries on the surface over two games.
The playing surface at the stadium, which opened in 2010, was replaced once in 2016 and then again with new FieldTurf this offseason. That new surface has drawn some criticism from those that have played on it.
“I think the turf was pretty thick,” 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “Guys seemed to be getting stuck in the ground more regularly. A bunch of guys went down, wasn’t real fun to be a part of.”
“I know that’s as many knee injuries and ankle stuff and people getting caught on the turf that I’ve ever been a part of,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan added. “From what I saw, the other team did, too. I know our players talked about it the entire game, just how sticky the turf was. I think that was the first time people played on it. That was something our guys were concerned about right away and the result definitely made that a lot stronger. Unfortunately, it’s a place we have to go back next week.”
Banner has not spoken to the media since his injury. He said on Twitter that he underwent surgery on Friday.
“Any time you play on turf, you always feel a little different,” Steelers defensive lineman Tyson Alualu said on Monday, but he did not say that he felt the turf at MetLife Stadium was worse than any of the other turf surfaces the Steelers have played on. Alualu said he suffered a minor ankle injury during the game. Steelers running back James Conner also injured his ankle early in the game and did not return.
NBC Sports reported that the NFL plans to look into the turf situation at the stadium.
Steelers Injury Updates: Mike Hilton Questionable, Ulysees Gilbert Out vs. Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers nickel cornerback Mike Hilton is questionable with a shoulder injury for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Hilton suffered the shoulder injury two weeks ago against the Cleveland Browns, and missed last week’s win over the Tennessee Titans. The star slot corner was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday after sitting out on Wednesday.
Hilton leads the Steelers with 29 total tackles. He also has three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Steelers fullback T.J. Watt is also listed as questionable for Sunday, as he continues to battle the hamstring injury he originally suffered against the Houston Texans in Week Three. Watt did not practice Wednesday either, but has been limited the last two days.
Pittsburgh will not have linebacker Ulysees Gilbert (back), safety Jordan Dangerfield (quadricep) or nose tackle Chris Wormley (knee) when they visit Baltimore, as all three are listed as out for the heavyweight matchup.
Gilbert’s absence is the most concerning considering the Steelers are already thin without starting linebacker Devin Bush, who will miss the remainder of the 2020 season with a torn ACL.
Pittsburgh acquired Wormley and a 2021 seventh-round pick from Baltimore earlier this year for a 2021 fifth-rounder. Wormley will now miss his homecoming game at M&T Bank Stadium this weekend.
Steelers Injury Updates: Hilton Limited, Gilbert and Three Others Held Out
Pittsburgh Steelers nickel cornerback Mike Hilton returned to the practice field in a limited capacity Thursday, while three players did not participate ahead of this weekend’s monster clash with the Baltimore Ravens.
One of the league’s top slot corners, Hilton (shoulder) missed last week’s win over the Tennessee Titans and had been leading the Steelers with 27 tackles this season. He also has three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. He did not practice Wednesday.
Linebacker Ulysees Gilbert (back), safety Jordan Dangerfield (quadricep) and nose tackle Chris Wormley (knee) were all held out of practice Thursday.
Dangerfield and Wormley did not practice Wednesday either, while Gilbert is listed on the injury report for the first time this week.
Gilbert’s ailment is especially significant considering the Steelers’ lack of depth since losing starting inside linebacker Devin Bush for the year with a torn ACL.
Dangerfield and Wormley both suffered their injuries in last week’s Tennessee game.
Fullback Derek Watt continues to battle the hamstring injury he suffered earlier this season against the Houston Texans. Watt was limited on Thursday after practicing fully on Wednesday.
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), tight end Eric Ebron (elbow), center Maurkice Pouncey (elbow), wide receiver Diontae Johnson (toe) and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva (elbow) all missed practice Wednesday, but participated fully on Thursday.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, guard David DeCastro and defensive end Stephon Tuitt were all back on the practice field following their weekly veteran days-off on Wednesday.
As for the Ravens, running back Mark Ingram (ankle), cornerback Jimmy Smith (Achilles) and nose tackle Brandon Williams (NIR) all missed practice on Thursday.
Star cornerback Marlon Humphrey returned to the practice field Thursday after missing Wednesday’s sessions with an illness.
Safety Anthony Levine (abdomen) was limited again Thursday, as guard Tyre Philips (hand) and defensive end Derek Wolfe (concussion/neck) were full practice participants in Baltimore for the second-straight day.
Steelers Injury Report: Hilton, Dangerfield, Wormley among 11 Held from Practice on Wednesday
Eleven Steelers did not practice on Wednesday as the team began preparations to face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8, with eight of them listed with various ailments on the team’s injury report
Defensive lineman Chris Wormley (knee) and safety Jordan Dangerfield (quad), who were injured during the Steelers’ Week 7 win over the Tennessee Titans, did not practice. Wormley had an MRI on his knee on Monday.
Nickel cornerback Mike Hilton, who injured his shoulder against the Cleveland Browns in Week 6 and missed the Titans game, also did not practice on Wednesday after head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday he was scheduled to do so this week.
Fullback Derek Watt (hamstring strain), the only other Steelers player that missed the game in Tennessee, was a full participant.
Wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who said he suffered an ankle bruise against the Titans, did not practice, but was listed with a toe injury, a nagging issue that has caused him to miss Wednesday practices for most of the season.
Fellow wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has done the same with a lingering knee issue and also did not practice on Wednesday.
Center Maurkice Pouncey, who had been dealing with a foot injury, did not practice with an elbow issue. Elbow issues also held out tackle Alejandro Villanueva and tight end Eric Ebron.
Also not practicing on Wednesday with a non-injury designation were guard David DeCastro, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and defensive end Stephon Tuitt.