PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward returned to practice on Friday, and appears on track to play when his team hosts the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Heyward did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday before suiting up on Friday, taking part in individual drills with his fellow defensive linemen before the start of pracitce. The 34-year-old defensive tackle missed six games after suffering a groin injury that required core muscle surgery in the team’s Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Heyward was expected to miss eight weeks after the surgery, but returned early last week, playing in 41 defensive snaps against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.
He did not have any reported setbacks, but the team did not specifically state why Heyward did not practice in the early part of the week. Head coach Mike Tomlin said that Heyward played more than he intended on Thursday.
“It’s great to have Cam back in action,” Tomlin said on Tuesday. “He probably played a little bit more than I wanted him to. And so, the additional days for him on the other side of that performance is big.”
Heyward likely played additional reps because nose tackle Montravius Adams was injured early in the first quarter against the Titans. Adams also missed each of the first two practice sessions this week. He did not appear to be fully participating in the above loose-ball drills with Heyward and the rest of the defensive line.
Rookie Keeanu Benton replaced Adams at nose tackle, and the team finished the game with five defensive linemen, leaving more reps on the field for Heyward, fellow starter Larry Ogunjobi and key reserve DeMarvin Leal.
The Steelers will make their final injury status for their Week 10 game against the Packers on Friday afternoon.