Steelers fullback Derek Watt will likely not play this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, while linebacker Marcus Allen is doubtful to suit up and wide receiver Diontae Johnson remains in the concussion protocol.
Watt suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the Steelers’ Week 3 win over the Houston Texans and did not return. Tomlin said he may participate in practice this week, but should be considered doubtful-to-out for Sunday.
Allen was not listed among the team’s injured after Sunday’s game, but Tomlin called him doubtful to participate this week while dealing with plantar fasciitis.
Johnson remains in the concussion protocol, which means that the team will not further update his status except for participation or non-participation in practice. He was injured on a reverse in the second quarter against Houston and did not return to the game.
Steelers Injury Updates: CB Steven Nelson Missed Practice with Knee Injury
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.
Steelers Say RB Jaylen Samuels Would Have Been Limited Thursday in Estimated Injury Report
The Steelers were off on Thursday following their Week 12 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday evening, but the team is still required to give an estimated injury report in advance of their upcoming Monday evening game against Washington.
In that estimated report, the Steelers say running back Jaylen Samuels, who missed each of the last two games with a quadriceps injury, would have been limited for Thursday’s practice session.
Samuels did not practice at all in the 10 days leading up to the Baltimore game, so his return to the field, whenever it actually happens, will be a positive step for the third-year back.
With Samuels out and James Conner on the COVID-19 reserve list, second-year back Benny Snell Jr. got the majority of the Steelers’ work on Wednesday, with rookie Anthony McFarland Jr. spelling him. Wendell Smallwood was activated from the practice squad, but did not have a carry.
No other Steelers were listed on the estimated injury report as missing practice time on Thursday, though starting cornerback Steven Nelson had an MRI on his knee, head coach Mike Tomlin announced earlier on Thursday. His status will be monitored throughout the week.
No Update for Four Steelers on COVID-19 Reserve List
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin did not offer any updates about the status of his four players on the COVID-19 reserve list during his weekly press conference on Thursday.
Starting running back James Conner, starting center Maurkice Pouncey, starting defensive end Stephon Tuitt and backup tackle Jerald Hawkins all missed the Steelers’ Week 12 game against the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday while on the COVID-19 reserve list.
The list is both for players that have tested positive and players that have to isolate because they have potentially been exposed to the virus. Conner has reportedly tested positive, while the status of the other three players is unknown.
Players that have to go onto the list as a close contact of a positive case have to remain on the list for at least five days, the same as players that test positive and remain asymptomatic. Players that test positive with symptoms must remain on the list at least 10 days.
Tuitt said on Sunday that he plans on returning for the Steelers’ Week 13 game against Washington on Monday evening. He and Hawkins were placed on the list on Nov. 27.
When asked specifically about when Pouncey might return, Tomlin said, “When Marquise gets back to us, he gets back to us.”