Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (knee) returned to the practice field and participated fully on Friday ahead of the team’s matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend.
Watt practiced Wednesday, but surprisingly missed Thursday’s session with the knee injury. Following today’s practice, he reiterated his health and preparedness to face Philadelphia.
“I feel great,” he told the media Friday. “I practiced well today, flying around. I’ll be ready to go for Sunday, no doubt.”
While T.J. Watt will be full-go, his brother and fullback Derek Watt (hamstring) and linebacker Marcus Allen (plantar fasciitis) have both been ruled out for Sunday’s game.
Wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and Diontae Johnson (toe) practice for the second-straight day after sitting out on Wednesday. Johnson had also been dealing with a concussion suffered against the Houston Texans, but has since been cleared.
As for the Eagles, quarterback Carson Wentz will be without two of his top targets again on Sunday, as wide receivers Alshon Jeffrey (illness, foot) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) have both been ruled out.
Philadelphia will also be without former Pitt cornerback Avonte Maddox, who will miss his homecoming game due to an ankle injury.
Steelers Injury Report: Hilton, Dangerfield, Wormley among 11 Held from Practice on Wednesday
Eleven Steelers did not practice on Wednesday as the team began preparations to face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8, with eight of them listed with various ailments on the team’s injury report
Defensive lineman Chris Wormley (knee) and safety Jordan Dangerfield (quad), who were injured during the Steelers’ Week 7 win over the Tennessee Titans, did not practice. Wormley had an MRI on his knee on Monday.
Nickel cornerback Mike Hilton, who injured his shoulder against the Cleveland Browns in Week 6 and missed the Titans game, also did not practice on Wednesday after head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday he was scheduled to do so this week.
Fullback Derek Watt (hamstring strain), the only other Steelers player that missed the game in Tennessee, was a full participant.
Wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who said he suffered an ankle bruise against the Titans, did not practice, but was listed with a toe injury, a nagging issue that has caused him to miss Wednesday practices for most of the season.
Fellow wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has done the same with a lingering knee issue and also did not practice on Wednesday.
Center Maurkice Pouncey, who had been dealing with a foot injury, did not practice with an elbow issue. Elbow issues also held out tackle Alejandro Villanueva and tight end Eric Ebron.
Also not practicing on Wednesday with a non-injury designation were guard David DeCastro, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and defensive end Stephon Tuitt.
Steelers Injury Updates: DL Chris Wormley to Have MRI on Knee; Hilton, Watt to Return to Practice
The Steelers will be without a number of players during the early portion of the week, but head coach Mike Tomlin did not rule anyone out entirely for this Sunday’s visit to the Baltimore Ravens.
Defensive lineman Chris Wormley seems to have the most significant ailment. He’s scheduled to undergo an MRI on his knee to evaluate the injury he suffered against the Tennessee Titans.
Safety Jordan Dangerfield injured his quad against the Titans and Tomlin expects him to be limited in practice during the early part of the week.
Both Steelers that missed the trip to Tennessee are scheduled to return to practice this week, as fullback Derek Watt (hamstring strain) and Nickel cornerback Mike Hilton (shoulder) are both expected to get back to work.
Linebacker Robert Spillane (shoulder) and wide receiver Diontae Johnson (ankle bruise) are both expected to be able to play this week, though it sounds as if a number of Steelers players may not participate in the early week tune-up sessions.
“Bumps and bruises along the way may limit a guy or two along the way, a Wednesday practice, but we don’t worry too much about that,” Tomlin said. “We’re excited about some of the younger guys getting a chance to work.”
Running back Trey Edmunds was elevated from the practice squad place of Watt for special teams and defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux played fullback in heavy offensive sets. Cam Sutton filled in for a season-high snap count, with Justin Layne replacing Sutton in the Dime package.
Mondeaux also helped replace Wormley on the defensive line while he left with injury and if Wormley is unable to dress on Sunday, Isaiah Buggs would likely work back into the rotation.
Dangerfield is another important special teams contributor and Edmunds could once again be called upon to replace him if he’s out and Watt returns.
Steelers WR Diontae Johnson Has Ankle Bruise, Says He Won’t Miss Playing Time
Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson said that he has an ankle bruise and should not miss any playing time after he left the Steelers’ game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in the fourth quarter.
Johnson left the game after competing a crucial first down as the Steelers were looking to seal the game offensively, but after he left, Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception, and the Steelers had to sweat out a long Stephen Gostkowski field goal before coming away with the win.
Johnson was crucial to the winning effort, as he scored two touchdowns and led the Steelers with 15 targets, which he turned into nine catches for 80 yards.
He has dealt with several injury issues this season. Johnson suffered a back injury against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5 and missed the Steelers’ Week 6 game against the Cleveland Browns, but was able to return to practice in the week leading up to the Titans game. He has also dealt with a nagging toe issue throughout the 2020 season.
Through five games played, Johnson has 24 catches for 227 and three touchdowns.