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Steelers Injury Updates

Optimism for Steelers RB Najee Harris to Play Against Patriots



Steelers RB Najee Harris

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris has officially been listed as questionable for the team’s Week 14 game against the New England Patriots.

Harris did not practice at all on Tuesday or Wednesday this week, despite Tuesday’s practice session being a mere walkthrough. He was estimated to have been a full participant, should the Steelers have practiced on Monday (they were off) and he did not appear to have any issues finishing the game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

So what’s up? Harris was wearing a compression sleeve on his right leg when the spoke with the media after practice on Tuesday. He didn’t mention the injury, nor was is brought up and he did not appear to be in any discomfort.

A report from Tom Pelissero of NFL Network on Wednesday said that there is optimism that Harris will be able to play, and that makes sense, considering the situation.

It’s reasonable to suspect that Harris might deal with a reduced workload, though, even if he does play. The Steelers have had a near 50-50 time share between Harris and Jaylen Warren this season.

Steelers RB Najee Harris Jaylen Warren

Pittsburgh Steelers running backs Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris on Dec. 3, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Harris has played in 408 snaps and has 159 carries and 180 total touches. Warren has played in 342 snaps and has 102 carries and 140 total touches.

But Warren has actually been the more productive back on a rate basis. He has averaged 5.9 yards per rushing attempt, which leads the entire NFL among qualified rushers. Harris has averaged 4.2 yards per rush, a career-best mark.

Warren has also been more productive as a receiver. He has 38 catches on 48 targets for 243 yards — 5.1 yards per target. Harris has averaged 4.3 yards per target in the passing game.

So this might be the chance for Warren to get a greater share of the workload, though neither back should be expecting smooth sledding. The Patriots are third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed and first in yards per carry against at 3.2 yards per carry, despite the fact that they’re 2-10 and have been losing in almost every game they’ve been in.