PITTSBURGH — Five Steelers missed practice due to injury on Wednesday, while another three were limited and one injured player returned to full participation.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (left pectoral), wide receiver Diontae Johnson (right knee), outside linebacker Alex Highsmith (groin) and nose tackle Carlos Davis (groin) all did not practice due to injury.
Davis missed the Steelers’ Week 2 game against the Las Vegas Raiders, while Highsmith, Johnson and Roethlisberger were injured during the game. Highsmith and Roethlisberger were able to finish the game despite their injuries. Johnson was injured on the game’s final play.
Roethlisberger does not typically practice on Wednesdays, so his absence was expected. Mason Rudolph is the team’s backup quarterback and would be expected to fill in against the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday if Roethlisberger is unable to play.
Cornerback Joe Haden (groin) and outside linebacker T.J. Watt (groin) were listed as limited participants. Haden missed the Raiders game, while Watt was injured in the first half and did not return.
Cornerback Justin Layne was also listed as a limited participant with a previously unannounced Achilles injury.
Inside linebacker Devin Bush, who also missed Sunday’s game with a groin injury, was a full participant on Wednesday, a strong sign for his potential return to the lineup.
James Washington would be expected to fill in for Johnson as the third starting wide receiver, with Ray-Ray McCloud likely seeing an elevated role, as well.
At nose tackle, Isaiah Buggs will replace starter Tyson Alualu, who was placed on injured reserve on Monday, if Davis is unable to.
Melvin Ingram and Jamir Jones represent the team’s depth at outside linebacker behind Highsmith and Watt. Three players, including new addition Taco Charlton, are on the practice squad and could be candidates for elevation if one or both of Highsmith and Watt can’t play.
With Haden out against the Raiders, James Pierre was elevated to a starting role and Layne and Ahkello Witherspoon shared reps as the Dime outside cornerback, with Cam Sutton moving inside for six-defensive back sets.
Tight end Eric Ebron was given the day off.