Starting right guard David DeCastro practiced in pads for the first time, but the Pittsburgh Steelers had three more players suffer injuries on Monday afternoon, head coach Mike Tomlin announced following practice.
DeCastro had missed the previous five practice with an unknown injury before returning.
Offensive tackle Derwin Gray and wide receiver Anthony Johnson both suffered knee injuries, while outside linebacker Bud Dupree dealt with an undisclosed ailment. Tomlin said he believed all three were able to return to the field and finish, and did not seem concerned about any, describing them as “nicks.”
In addition, a number of Steelers were held out Monday with lingering injuries. Defensive tackle Chris Wormley and running back Wendell Smallwood continue to battle shoulder issues, while right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor is considered day-to-day with a groin injury. Backup guard Kevin Dotson was out again and has not practiced since hurting his knee last Tuesday.
Wide receiver Diontae Johnson and safety Terrell Edmunds missed practice again Monday with unknown injuries that Tomlin described on Saturday as also day-to-day.
Running back James Conner and defensive end Stephon Tuitt were both full participants on Monday after being held out of Saturday’s evening practice.
Tomlin said Saturday that the team was holding out a number of players who were involved in COVID-19 procedures. It was later announced the NFL’s testing partner BioReference had a number of results come back as false positives. They announced Monday that all 77 players and staff members in question across the league tested negative.
There was no news from the Steelers on the COVID-19 front Monday, which has been the case since they reinstated running back Jaylen Samuels from the reserve list on Aug. 13.
Long snapper Kam Canaday was also back in action after suffering an injury Saturday.
Lastly, a number of Steelers veteran were give the day off on Monday, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Tomlin said that not only were the off days given for preservation purposes, but also to provide other players expanded chances to prove themselves.
“It provides opportunities for others,” Tomlin said of the scheduled days off. “That’s what we focus on, the younger guys that get an opportunity to ascend within the competition. And get a chance to compete against some more veteran players, and show their metal, in that regard.”