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Steelers Injury Updates

Two Critical Steelers Starters Return to Practice



Steelers Cam Heyward
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson before his team's game against the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 2, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson missed his team’s first practice session of the week with a thumb injury sustained in last Sunday’s 23-19 win over the Green Bay Packers, but it does not appear that he is going to let it keep him out of this Sunday’s AFC North battle with the Cleveland Browns.

Johnson was back at practice on Thursday, taking his usual spot as the first receiver in the line of reps as the team went through individual drills.

Johnson was able to return to the game against the Packers, finishing with one catch for 17 yards on a season-low four targets. He missed practice on Wednesday, but it doesn’t seem that the injury will keep him from playing with his return to work on Thursday. 

How effective Johnson can be with a banged-up thumb is another question, but one we probably won’t have an answer to until Sunday.

In five games this season, Johnson has 24 catches on 39 targets for 319 yards and one touchdown. He is averaging 7.8 targets and 4.9 receptions per game and 8.18 yards per target this season.

Johnson missed four and a half games with a hamstring injury suffered on the first play of the second half of the Steelers’ season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.

Among the games he missed was the Steelers’ first game against the Browns, a 26-22 victory at Acrisure Stadium in Week 2.

RELATED: Finally, Diontae Johnson Breaks His TD-Less Streak

In addition to Johnson’s return, defensive lineman Cam Heyward returned after missing Wednesday with a groin injury. Heyward has dealt with swelling in his groin, and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin straight up admitted that Heyward can not play as many snaps as he usually would.

However, Heyward seems likely to play against the Browns and into the future. Pittsburgh is just giving him days of rest so he does not aggravate the injury. So far, Heyward has not been as effective as a pass rusher, but has proven to be a valuable run defender.