The Pittsburgh Steelers lost Chase Claypool in Week 9 during their 29-27 win over the Chicago Bears at Heinz Field on Monday Night Football, but it wasn’t until after the game when head coach Mike Tomlin said Claypool was being evaluated for a toe injury.
Toe injuries can be difficult to gauge, and the severity can go anywhere from being a one week injury to a season-ending injury. On Tuesday, during his weekly press conference, Tomlin said Claypool was having an MRI done on his toe. If you read between the lines you could assume the injury was more of the severe variety.
No news came from the Steelers Wednesday, other than Claypool not participating in the team’s walk through type practice.
With little-to-no information on the injury, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting Claypool’s toe injury is not of the season-ending variety. But that doesn’t mean the injury is minor either.
Some relatively good news for #Steelers WR Chase Claypool: His toe injury is not considered season-ending. There was some fear of that originally, but he’s now considered week-to-week, source said. May miss some time, but will be back.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 10, 2021
As Rapoport states, Claypool’s injury can be labeled as week-to-week, but that he could certainly miss some time. While some fans might look at the Steelers’ schedule and think Claypool missing the upcoming Week 10 game vs. the Detroit Lions would be okay, the games after that get more daunting.
Week 10: vs. Detroit Lions
Week 11: at Los Angeles Chargers
Week 12: at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 13: vs. Baltimore Ravens
Week 14: at Minnesota Vikings
Week 15: vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 16: at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 17: vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 18: at Baltimore Ravens
The Steelers’ wide receiver depth is one of their strengths, but with JuJu Smith-Schuster already out for the season with a shoulder injury, losing Claypool is a big blow. This will lead to increased snaps for James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud, and could also open the door for a player like Cody White to see an increased role in the offense.
When will Claypool return? At this point it is anyone’s guess, but if this report is true there is little-to-no chance the second year receiver plays at Heinz Field this Sunday.