The Pittsburgh Steelers have dealt with injuries throughout the duration of the 2019 regular season. And while every NFL team is dealing with injuries in some way heading into Week 17 of the regular season, the Steelers just can’t seem to shake the injury bug.
Already without Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers have watched starter after starter, mainly on offense, leave with injury and have to deal with the ramifications of those injuries in terms of depth and roster moves.
Those moves continued Tuesday when the team placed Mason Rudolph on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, and promoted center J.C. Hassenauer to the active roster. This was just the latest roster transaction among many throughout the season.
During his weekly press conference, Mike Tomlin did say, when asked, Rudolph will not need surgery on his injured shoulder.
Tomlin said Mason Rudolph is NOT getting surgery.— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) December 24, 2019
With Rudolph out, the Steelers will be short-handed at positions other than quarterback. Devlin Hodges will take over, and should be comfortable in that role, but he won’t be taking snaps from Maurkice Pouncey. Mike Tomlin labeled Pouncey as out for the upcoming AFC North game Sunday.
Hodges also might not have the team’s top running back beside him with James Conner dealing with a quadriceps injury. Tomlin spoke about how Conner’s availability being in question this week leading up to the game. As always, his overall practice participation, and effectiveness, will result in whether Conner could be in the lineup in the regular season finale.
While potentially being without Pouncey and Conner, the good news was two offensive players weren’t mentioned by Tomlin during his media availability. James Washington, who was tackled awkwardly in Week 16 and hurt his ankle, came back into the game and wasn’t mentioned by Tomlin as an issue moving forward.
Also not mentioned was JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster had been dealing with a knee injury the past month, and while he clearly wasn’t 100% at MetLife Stadium vs. the Jets, him not having a setback was at least good news to an offense who can use every playmaker available to them this Sunday, and possibly beyond.
The Steelers will scrape together a lineup they feel will give them the best shot at beating the Lamar Jackson-less Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for all the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold leading up to kickoff.