Pittsburgh Steelers guard David DeCastro and wide receiver Diontae Johnson both did not participate in practice Thursday.
DeCastro has been battling a knee injury which has continuously sidelined him throughout training camp, while Johnson was kept off the practice field with a foot injury.
While DeCastro’s lingering knee ailment puts the two-time All-Pro’s status for Monday season opener against the New York Giants in jeopardy, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reiterated his confidence that they have the depth to overcome his absence if necessary.
“No clarity as I sit here today, and I am comfortable with the depth there,” said Tomlin. “Obviously an inclusion of David DeCastro in game planning and play is significant.”
If DeCastro does miss the opener, he would likely be replaced by veteran offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski, who has earned valuable reps with the first-team offense spelling DeCastro throughout training camp.
“I have learned in my years in the NFL be ready for anything,” said Wisniewski. “It does look like at this point I will be the backup swing guy at both guards and center. I’ll embrace that role. I do believe I am capable of being a starter in this league. I think I have proven that.”
With Johnson’s foot injury appearing to be a new issue, rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool could see an expanded role against New York.
Other than the absences of DeCastro and Johnson on Thursday, the Steelers are relatively healthy heading into the 2020 season.
As for the Giants, linebacker Markus Golden missed Thursday’s practice with an illness, while defensive back Adrian Colbert was limited with a similar ailment. No indication was given whether their absence was COVID-19 related.
Wide receiver Golden Tate, linebacker Tae Crowder and tight end Levine Toilolo were also limited, all battling hamstring injuries.