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Steelers Injury News: Minkah Fitzpatrick ‘Battling’ to Return vs. Browns



Steelers FS Minkah Fitzpatrick
Pittsburgh Steelers long snapper Christian Kuntz in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 29, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin highlighted three players dealing with injury that will have a chance to return to action this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns during his weekly news conference at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Tuesday.

Tomlin said that nose tackle Montravius Adams, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and safety Keanu Neal will all have a chance to practice this week, and could return to action in Cleveland on Sunday. Tomlin also said that he is optimistic that tight end Pat Freiermuth will return to the lineup.

Adams missed last week’s 23-19 win over the Green Bay Packers with an ankle injury suffered against the Tennesse Titans in Week 9. Tomlin had said there was a chance that Adams would practice ahead of the Packers game, but he did not and was ultimately ruled out. He was replaced by rookie Keeanu Benton in the starting lineup.

Fitzpatrick has been dealing with a hamstring injury since the Steelers’ Week 9 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tomlin also said there was a chance that Fitzpatrick would practice last week, but he did not. Damontae Kazee moved from strong safety to free safety to replace Fitzpatrick and Neal stepped into a full-time role at strong safety after playing primarily on run downs earlier this season.

“Minkah is batting to come back to us,” Tomlin said. “How much they’re available during the course of the week is a determining factor, and obviously, the quality of that work.”

Neal was hurt when he was tackled on top of the football after his fourth-quarter interception. He was replaced late in the game by Trenton Thompson, who was called up from the practice squad for hte game.

Tomlin said that inside linebacker Kwon Alexander is obviously out this week, but curiously declined to give a status update beyond that. Alexander has reportedly torn his Achilles, which at this stage of the season, would assuredly be a season-ending injury.

“I’ll have more information when we decide what course we’re going to take and when,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin did not mention wide receiver Diontae Johnson (thumb), long snapper Christian Kuntz (ankle) or tight end Connor Heyward (ankle). All three were injured against the Packers, but appear to be healthy headed into the week of practice.

Steelers Injury Report

Player Injury Date  Prognosis Roster Status
LS Christian Kuntz Ankle Nov. 12 Expected to play Active
WR Diontae Johnson Thumb Nov. 12 Expected to play Active
TE Connor Heyward Left leg Nov. 12 Expected to play Active
SS Keanu Neal Rib Nov. 12 Expected to practice Active
ILB Kwon Alexander Achilles Nov. 12 Out for season Active, OUT vs. Browns
ILB Cole Holcomb Left knee Nov. 2 Out for season Injured reserve
NT Montravius Adams Right ankle Nov. 2 Expected to practice Active
FS Minkah Fitzpatrick Right hamstring Oct. 29 Expected to practice Active
TE Pat Freiermuth Right hamstring Oct. 19 Expected to practice IR, Eligible to return
LB Chapelle Russell II Knee Aug. 11 Out for season Injured reserve
CB Cory Trice Right ACL tear Aug. 1 Out for season Injured reserve
RB Alfonzo Graham Torn right labrum July 29 Out for season Injured reserve
DT Renell Wren Torn right Achilles tendon May 17 Out for season Injured reserve

Nick Farabaugh provided reporting from Pittsburgh.