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Steelers Injury Report: Joe Haden returns to practice on Thursday

While a number of players moved in the right direction, there were some players who took a step back

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off an extra three days rest and are returning to Heinz Field to kick off the final quarter of the season. As the Steelers take the practice field for their second time of the week to prepare for the Tennessee Titans, one new name was on the injury list. In the second injury report of the week courtesy of the Steelers PR department, there were two players who were limited and three who did not practice.

Steelers PR Department

The biggest news from this injury report may be the return of cornerback Joe Haden who has missed the last four games. Going out early against the Detroit Lions, it has been almost 5 games since he has been able to get on the field. Trying to get back from a foot injury, Haden was unable to get back on the practice field on Wednesday. On Thursday, Haden returned to practice in a limited fashion. While it is unclear if Haden will be able to go on Sunday, getting back on the practice field in some capacity was the first step needed.

The other big news in this injury report from a positive standpoint comes at boith linebacker positions. First off, neither of the Steelers starting outside linebackers were able to finish the game last Thursday due to injury. Alex Highsmith is dealing with a quad contusion while T.J. Watt is once again dealing with a groin injury. On Wednesday, both Watt and Highsmith were able to participate in the first practice of the week, each in a limited capacity. Moving in the right direction, both players were full participants on Thursday.

Another Steelers linebacker who missed last Thursday’s game was inside linebacker Robert Spillane. Missing the last two games, the first one technically being due to Covid, Spillane returned in a limited capacity on Wednesday with his knee injury. Just like Highsmith and Watt, Spillane was able to progress to a full participant on Thursday.

Despite having an extended break between games, Ben Roethlisberger is still on the injury report. This week, Roethlisberger is once again listed with a pectoral/right shoulder injury. On Wednesday, Roethlisberger did not participate despite the added rest since last game. On the injury report for Thursday, Roethlisberger was listed as a limited participant but is not believed to be in danger of missing Sunday’s game.

Steelers tight end Kevin Rader also landed on the Injury report on Wednesday with a hip injury. Rader was limited in practice and it was uncertain if it was an injury he was dealing with coming into practice or from something which happened on the field. By being downgraded to missing practice on Thursday, it is likely Rader was injured in Wednesday’s practice.

Despite being listed on the injury report, defensive tackles Carlos Davis and Isaiah Buggs were both full participants in practice on Wednesday. Davis is listed as dealing with a knee injury which has kept him out of action since Week 1 of the 2021 season while Buggs missed the last game with an ankle injury. After Wednesday, the two players are headed in opposite directions are Davis was able to practice fully again on Thursday while Buggs must have suffered a setback as he was unable to practice on Thursday.

The new name added to the injury report on Thursday was Zach Banner who was unable to practice with a knee injury. It is unclear at this time if it was the knee in which he had surgery last season which cost him all but one game in 2020. The extent of Banner’s injury will be something to keep an eye on over the next several days.

As for the Titans’ injury report, it can be seen below courtesy of

Tennessee Titans Participation/Injury Report, Week 15

Thursday, December 16

FB Troy Carter (Ankle) - DNP

DB Dane Cruikshank (Illness) - DNP

CB Jackrabbit Jenkins (Ankle) - DNP

LB David Long Jr. (Hamstring) - DNP

DL Larrell Murchison (Knee) - DNP

G Rodger Saffold III (Shoulder) - DNP

DT Teair Tart (Ankle) - DNP

OLB Harold Landry III (Hamstring) - Full

OLB Derick Roberson (Illness) - DNP

For more information on the Steelers and Titans’ injury report, check out the BTSC Injury Report podcast below: