The injury report for the Steelers isn’t as bad as many thought, but it includes just enough key players listed as ‘Questionable’ to significantly shuffle the roster for the biggest game of the season vs. the Patriots.
First, the good news. Of all the players injured throughout the week, only Vance McDonald (shoulder) has been ruled out. McDonald being out isn’t good news—in fact, the team could really use him on the field. But with so many other injuries of note, anytime only one player is ruled out isn’t bad.
Now for the grey areas. The only other Steelers listed on the injury report are Joe Haden (fibula), Coty Sensabaugh (shoulder) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring). The uncertain status of this trio makes things extremely dicey for the Steelers in Week 15.
Let’s take a look at the cornerback position first. If Haden and Sensabaugh are both out, it would leave Cameron Sutton to make his first career start against Tom Brady. Not ideal circumstances and one the Steelers would like to avoid. If Haden and Sutton can both play, the team’s secondary would be complete for the first time since Haden broke his leg vs. the Colts. Some believe Sensabaugh will play, but Haden will be held out. But with both being game-time decisions, no one knows what to expect from a depth chart perspective at the cornerback position.
It seems as if JuJu Smith-Schuster re-aggravated the hamstring injury which kept him out of the Packers game in Week 12, so he too is listed as questionable. Without Smith-Schuster, not only would they be missing a very reliable target, but also a tremendous blocker in the running game. Without Smith-Schuster, the team would lean on Eli Rogers and Martavis Bryant to pick up the slack.
That’s it for the Steelers’ injuries heading into Week 15. All in all, not too bad. Compare the Pittsburgh injury report to the joke which is the Patriots’ injury report, and you might feel a sense of calm come over you.
Either way, be sure to check back here at BTSC for the latest on these injuries as the team puts the final touches on their prep for the Patriots on Sunday.
TE Vance McDonald (Shoulder)
CB Joe Haden (Fibula)
CB Coty Sensabaugh (Shoulder)
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (Hamstring)
DL Alan Branch (Knee)
DL Trey Flowers (Rib)
CB Stephon Gilmore (Ankle)
LB David Harris (Ankle)
WR Chris Hogan (Shoulder)
DB Brandon King (Hamstring)
DL Eric Lee (Ankle)
WR Matthew Slater (Hamstring)
LB Kyle Van Noy (Calf)
OT LaAdrian Waddle (Ankle)
DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (Foot)