Though it seemed the Pittsburgh Steelers escaped their game against the Cleveland Browns relatively unscathed, their first official injury report of the week released on Wednesday painted a different picture. But while five players were forced to miss practice due to injury, another returned as a full participant for the first time since July 29th.
Steelers injury report: Cameron Heyward (knee) is among the players who did not practice. Also DNP were Ben Roethlisberger (elbow), Joe Haden (hamstring), David DeCastro (hand) and Tyson Alualu (shoulder). Vance McDonald (foot) was full participant— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) September 12, 2018
While it wasn’t surprising to see Ben Roethlisberger, David DeCastro and Joe Haden sitting out, the inclusion of Cameron Heyward and Tyson Alualu on the injury report was somewhat unexpected. With the exception of Haden, all of the players’ held out of practice on Wednesday were able to play the entire game in Cleveland.
After telling reporters his fractured hand might be more significant than first thought, DeCastro revealed the swelling hadn’t yet reduced enough to be able to fit a brace and characterized himself as day-to-day. If he’s unable to suit up on Sunday, B.J. Finney will play in his place.
David DeCastro on his injured hand, and how he plans to approach the injury. pic.twitter.com/JPt50Msp8G— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 12, 2018
Roethlisberger appeared more optimistic about his elbow injury, calling it just a bruise. While it seems he has had an MRI, he was unwilling to discuss it with the media.
Ben Roethlisberger talks about his elbow, the evolution of RPOs and preparing for the Chiefs. pic.twitter.com/pfrwvH82tp— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 12, 2018
Haden could well be another player in danger of missing the game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and his progress will be one to keep an eye on as the week develops. Cam Sutton would start at cornerback if Haden is unable to go. With Alualu the primary backup to Heyward, the Steelers will need to have at least one of them available in Week 2.
Perhaps the most shocking news from the report was the return to full practice for Vance McDonald. Sidelined by a foot injury just a few days into camp, the presumed starter at tight end might start on Sunday if he can string a whole week of practice together.
Safety Eric Berry and linebacker Ben Niemann were the only to players held out for the Chiefs on Wednesday.