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Steelers Injury News: No Alex Highsmith Update, One Potential Return



Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers will have two big injuries to monitor this week at the outside linebacker position, and will still be without starting quarterback Kenny Pickett, but should have a lot of players that suited up at less than 100% against the New England Patriots in Week 14 back to full health for this Saturday’s Week 15 trip to play the Indianapolis Colts.

Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt remain in the NFL concussion protocol, and head coach Mike Tomlin gave a minimal update on their status on Monday. It’s relatively uncommon for players to go into the concussion protocol and return in the same week, but it has happened, including for a couple of Steelers, Pickett and Chukwuma Okorafor.

Highsmith’s injury being first listed as a neck injury on Thursday before ending up in the concussion protocol clouds his prognosis, though. The Steelers were quick to rule him first as questionable to return and then as out for the remainder of the game against the Patriots, while Watt returned to action and was able to finish the game before reporting concussion symptoms later.

RELATED: Steelers Quiet on T.J. Watt Concussion Details

Nick Herbig and Markus Golden will be in line to start if Highsmith and Watt remain out. Kyron Johnson and recently re-signed David Perales represent third and fourth options on the practice squad.

Other than the three big injuries — which is bordering on “How was the play, Mrs. Lincoln” territory — the Steelers are getting healthier. The four players that were all questionable to play on Thursday night all did so and, Tomlin said that Najee Harris (knee), Mason Cole (neck), Isaac Seumalo (shoulder) and Elandon Roberts (groin) should be less hampered by injury in this week of practice than last.

He did not update the status of defensive tackle Keeanu Benton, who entered Thursday’s game with an oblique injury and required assistance from trainers during the game, but was able to finish it.

One player that is expected to return to practice is cornerback James Pierre, who has been battling a shoulder injury for a while now. It caused him to miss his first game on Thursday.

Player Injury Date  Prognosis Roster Status
OLB Alex Highsmith Neck/concussion protocol Dec. 7 Unknown Active, TBD
OLB T.J. Watt Concussion protocol Dec. 7 Unknown Active, TBD
RB Najee Harris Right knee Dec. 5 Minor Active, Will practice
DT Keeanu Benton Oblique Dec. 3 Unknown Active, TBD
LG Isaac Seumalo Shoulder Dec. 3 Minor Active, Will practice
QB Kenny Pickett R high ankle sprain surgery Dec. 3 2-4 Weeks Active, OUT vs IND
ILB Elandon Roberts Groin Dec. 3 Minor Active, Will practice
FS Minkah Fitzpatrick Left hand Dec. 3 Minor Active, Will practice
C Mason Cole Neck Dec. 3 Minor Active, Will practice
CB James Pierre Shoulder Nov. 22 Day to day Active, Will practice
DB Elijah Riley High ankle sprain Nov. 19 Week to week Injured reserve (Wk. 16)
SS Keanu Neal Rib Nov. 12 Week to week Injured reserve (Wk. 15)
ILB Kwon Alexander Achilles Nov. 12 Out for season Injured reserve
ILB Cole Holcomb Left knee surgery Nov. 2 Out for season Injured reserve
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