Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett is pushing to return from his ankle injury in Week 16 return against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
From @NFLGameDay Kickoff: #Steelers QB Kenny Pickett is pushing to play next week but Week 17 against the #Seahawks is a bit more realistic. Meanwhile, there is a realistic chance that RB Jonathan Taylor (thumb) is back next week vs. the #Falcons. pic.twitter.com/mdz66YFAlh
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 16, 2023
Pickett suffered a high ankle sprain in his right ankle in the team’s Week 13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 3. Two days later, he had surgery on that ankle in an attempt to decrease his recovery time and strengthen the joint against potential further injury.
Pickett underwent the same procedure on his other ankle when he was at Pitt in 2020, and he missed only two weeks, returning on Nov. 7 after being injured on Oct. 10.
A return against the Bengals would be a similar timeframe, but Rapoport said Pickett getting back to action in time to face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17 is more likely.
The Steelers have just four games remaining, and Pickett is sure to miss Saturday’s road game against the Indianapolis Colts. With a win over the Colts, the Steelers will be in strong position to make the playoffs, and a returning Pickett could be the boost the team needs to get into the postseason.
This season, the Steelers are 7-2 this season when Pickett starts and finishes a game and 0-4 when he does not.
Backup Mitch Trubisky is set to make his second start and fifth appearance of the season against the Colts on Saturday.
On the season, Pickett has completed 201 of 324 passes for 2,070 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. He has completed 62% of his passes, has a 5.29 adjusted net yards per attempt, an 81.4 passer rating and a 37.7 QBR.
Trubisky has completed 51 of 84 passes for 463 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He has completed 60.7% of his passes, has a 4.15 adjusted net yards per attempt, a 72.7 passer rating and a 35.3 QBR.
Trubisky’s self-admitted poor play in the team’s 21-18 Week 15 loss to the New England Patriots resulted in calls for third-stringer Mason Rudolph, but head coach Mike Tomlin said he is sticking with Trubisky as his starter for now.