After the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 15 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, there was a small cloud hovering over the fan base as some key players left the game with injuries. After the game, Mike Tomlin gave the usual sound bytes about how the injuries will be evaluated, and more information will be given at his Tuesday press conference.
If you are like me, you waited for the noon press conference to hear about the diagnosis of players like Stephon Tuitt, Ladarius Green and others. Believe it or not, Mike Tomlin gave more information than he usually does when talking about injuries.
He stated Stephon Tuitt suffered a knee sprain, and although most wouldn’t see this as good news, the alternative could be quite serious. Tomlin mentioned Tuitt could play in Week 16 against the Baltimore Ravens, but he will let practice participation gauge Tuitt’s availability.
The other major injury was to tight end Ladarius Green, who suffered a concussion in the contest. Tomlin stated Green has been placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol, and will follow the appropriate measures before he can return to the field. Tomlin was asked if Green’s previous concussions will change how the team handles his return, and he simply said they won’t change how they handle his recovery. Rather, they will follow the protocol to the letter, and take a wait-and-see approach. If Green is even a limited participant Wednesday, it is a great sign for him possibly returning this week.
Believe it or not, there were other injuries mentioned. Defensive lineman Ricardo Mathews, and outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo, sufferend ankle injuries, and the Steelers coaching staff will let practice participation determine their status for Sunday’s AFC North showdown.
While DeAngelo Williams was a full participant in Wednesday and Friday’s practices last week, and was held off the injury report, he was inactive due to swelling in his knee. The team is waiting to see if that is strictly due to the increased workload, or if there is an ongoing issue with the joint. Tomlin suggested he should be good-to-go this week, barring a setback.
Another pair of players who have been out of the lineup for a few weeks now are working their way back to the field. Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) has started straight line running at full speed, a positive sign, but still a lot of work to accomplish before being game-ready. Tomlin also said special teams ace Shamarko Thomas who suffered a knee injury, is also working his way back.
The Steelers first reported practice will be Wednesday, and will give an early glimpse as to who might, or might not, be available when the Ravens come to Heinz Field next Sunday.