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Steelers Injury Updates

Steelers Injury Updates: Alualu, Hilton, Watt Could Return This Week

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The big headline coming out of the South Side on Tuesday was that four more Steelers players, including starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, had to be placed on the COVID-19 list as close contacts of positive case Vance McDonald and will miss at least five days’ worth of in-person practices and meetings.

But head coach Mike Tomlin relayed in his press conference some hopeful news about some players potentially returning from injury.

The Steelers played without defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, Nickel cornerback Mike Hilton and fullback Derek Watt in Sunday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys. But Tomlin thinks that all three have a chance to return to action against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on Sunday.

“We’re hopeful that we’re going to get a return from a number of guys that have missed some time,” Tomlin said.

Alualu was injured early in the Steelers’ Week 8 win over Baltimore and missed the trip to Dallas with an MCL sprain. He was replaced by Isaiah Buggs, who slid over from backup defensive end to starting nose tackle. Henry Mondeaux and Carlos Davis have also helped fill in on the defensive line.

Without Hilton, the Steelers have been using outside linebacker Alex Highsmith as a sub-package defense and Dime corner Cameron Sutton has seen his usage increase, as well.

The Steelers released backup fullback Trey Edmunds late last week when it appeared that Watt would be able to play, but Watt suffered a late-in-the-week setback and was scratched despite not appearing on the injury report on Friday. Mondeaux has also worked as a fullback at times this season.

Roethlisberger, who suffered a knee injury on Sunday, had been expected to be able to get in his usual practice reps before his COVID-19 designation.

Steelers Gameday

Alex Highsmith Needs MRI after Ankle Injury Suffered vs. Browns

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PITTSBURGH — Steelers rookie linebacker Alex Highsmith suffered an ankle injury that will require an MRI in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Highsmith left the game in the first half and was seen limping on the Pittsburgh sideline. He made an attempt to return to the game, but was unable to continue playing and did not see the field at all in the second half.

In-game, the Steelers announced that Highsmith was doubtful to return with an ankle injury. After the fact, head coach Mike Tomlin said that Highsmith suffered a high ankle sprain. Highsmith’s father posted on Twitter early on Monday morning that Highsmith will require an MRI on his injured ankle.

Given that Highsmith was able to walk and even run in short bursts after the injury, it does not seem likely that it will impact his offseason training plans.

The team’s third-round draft pick out of Charlotte, Highsmith was thrust into a starting role after starting outside linebacker Bud Dupree suffered  an ACL injury that required surgery.

On the season, Highsmith played in 16 regular season game and made five starts. He finished with 48 tackles, five for a loss, six quarterback hits, one interception and one pass defended.

With Dupree set to become an unrestricted free agent and unlikely to return, Highsmith should be expected to retain his starting role in 2021.

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Steelers Gameday

Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith Leaves Game with Ankle Injury, Doubtful to Return

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PITTSBURGH — Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith has left the team’s Wild Card Round playoff game against the Cleveland Browns with an ankle injury and is doubtful to return, the team announced.

Highsmith suffered the injury in the first half and attempted to return to play, but was unable to continue.

He was replaced on the field by a combination of third-year backup Ola Adeniyi and Cassius Marsh, who was signed from the Indianapolis practice squad in December.

Highsmith had been replacing starter Bud Dupree, who was lost for the season to an ACL injury.

In the regular season, Highsmith appeared in all 16 games and made five starts. He had two sacks, five tackles for loss, one interception and one pass defended.

The rookie out of Charlotte was the Steelers’ third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

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Steelers Injury Updates

Steelers Injury Updates: JuJu Smith-Schuster Practiced Fully Friday, Chris Boswell Limited

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are relatively healthy entering their opening round playoff matchup with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, as only kicker Chris Boswell was listed on the team’s injury report as being less than a full participant in practice on Friday.

Boswell was limited on Friday as he continues to recover from the groin injury that has forced him to miss the last two games. He was also limited on Wednesday, but was a full participant during Thursday’s session.

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) returned to the practice field Friday after sitting out on Thursday. He had practiced fully on Wednesday as well, but was newly added yesterday.

Defensive end Isaiah Buggs (illness) was also added to the injury report Thursday, but was a full participant on Friday.

Safety Terrell Edmunds (shoulder), cornerback Steven Nelson (knee), nose tackle Tyson Alualu (ankle) and linebacker Vince Williams (quad) were all full participants during Friday’s practice session as well, positioning the Steelers to be healthy heading into Sunday’s playoff game against the Browns.

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