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Steelers Injury Updates: Diontae Johnson ‘On the Right Track,’ Uncertain about Sunday Status



Steelers WR Diontae Johnson

PITTSBURGH — Wide receiver Diontae Johnson is not yet fully healed from a shoulder injury that he suffered in the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason finale against the Detroit Lions, and his status for Sunday’s regular season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals remains in question.

Johnson said he participated in the team’s first regularly scheduled practice session of the week on Wednesday, but that he couldn’t do everything that would normally be asked of him in a game.

“I tried to do everything I could, what my arm allowed me to do,” Johnson said. “I feel like I’m on the right track. … I’ve just got to make sure my body is right.”

Johnson had been less than a full participant in the team’s bonus practice on Monday.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game that Johnson could have possibly returned to the contest if it had been a regular season game. Johnson pushed back against that notion on Wednesday.

“No, I didn’t come back for a reason,” Johnson said. “That shit hurt, I’m not going to lie. I’m doing everything I can to get back to the guys. Taking it one day at a time.”

Johnson also dealt with a minor hip injury in training camp, and may now miss the season opener. He missed team practice sessions early in training camp while negotiating a contract extension, and he called the potential for missing the first game after that due to an injury on an effort play “frustrating.”

“I put in so much work this whole summer through camp and for some freak thing to happen is just another setback that I’ve got to bounce back from. I try to keep a positive mindset through everything. It can be tough at times.”

The Steelers have a number of options when it comes to potentially replacing Johnson, including Miles Boykin, shifting Chase Claypool outside and using Gunner Olszewski or Steven Sims in the slot, and playing more two-tight end or two-running back sets with a combination of Zach Gentry, Connor Heyward, Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell and Derrek Watt.

Johnson was officially listed as limited in practice on Wednesday. Linebacker Marcus Allen (hamstring) was also limited.

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