Cornerback Steven Nelson did not practice with the Steelers as they returned to work at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Friday, two days after injuring his knee in the Steelers’ win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Nelson was scheduled to have an MRI on his knee on Thursday, head coach Mike Tomlin announced.
Nelson did not suffer an obvious injury during the game and was able to finish the game. He played 89% of the Steelers’ defensive snaps, a season low. Second-year backup outside corner Justin Layne and versatile slot man Cam Sutton would be the most likely options to replace Nelson if he’s unable to play.
While Nelson was missing from action, the Steelers got another player back to work, as running back Jaylen Samuels was a full participant in practice for the first time since injuring his quad in Week 10.
Samuels miss the Steelers game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens and was listed as limited in an estimated practice report on Thursday.
Getting Samuels back provided a boost to a Steelers running back room that is also without starter James Conner, who is on the COVID-19 reserve list and veteran backup Trey Edmunds, who is on the injured reserve list with a hamstring injury.
Second-year back Benny Snell Jr. and rookie Anthony McFarland Jr. filled the workload on Wednesday, with Wendell Smallwood called up from the practice squad as a contingency. Smallwood played only on special teams.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also did not practice and was listed with a knee ailment, but his availability for Monday’s game against Washington does not appear to be in question at this time. Roethlisberger frequently takes the team’s first practice session of the week off.