PITTSBURGH — Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson returned to the practice field on Thursday and worked with his fellow receivers and quarterbacks in the period open to video at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Johnson missed Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury, raising some concerns that he would not play. But the star receiver is likely on track to play despite the injury.
Johnson was not listed on the injury report and was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice. The wide receiver has been dealing with a thumb injury, playing with a brace on one hand for several weeks. He has also missed time recently for an illness. But this knee injury is new. Still, it does not appear severe or problematic for the team moving forward.
Johnson spoke to the media after practice on Tuesday and did not appear to be significantly bothered by any injury. The Steelers need all hands on deck in a massive game against the Indianapolis Colts that they are all treating like a playoff game.
Johnson has been one of the players on the team that has consistently called out the effort of the club in back-to-back losses to the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots in Week 14 and 15.
“I felt like that the whole week. Once we got out there, I felt like something was different,” Johnson said. “We wasn’t at our best. I feel like we just took them lightly. We can’t come in this Thursday with the same mindset. We’re gonna be fine. We’re gonna move past it.”
When Johnson missed several games earlier this season with a hamstring injury, Austin stepped into the starting lineup in his place. Though he has played only nine games, Johnson is the team’s second-leading receiver with 37 catches for 275 yards and three touchdowns.