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 the final time this week to prepare for the Tennessee Titans, one new name was on the injury list. In the final injury report of the week courtesy of the Steelers PR department, there is one player who has been ruled out for Sunday’s game with three more players labeled as questionable.
NOTE: The days of the week and dates have been off all week on the image provided by the Steelers PR Department. Despite the wrong dates, it is the proper injury report.
The biggest news from Thursday’s injury report may have been 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, but on Thursday he returned to practice in a limited fashion. Getting back on the practice field on Friday, Haden was full participant on Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday.
The other big news on Thursday from a positive standpoint comes at both 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 and Friday and carry no injury status for Sunday.
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 and Friday and has no injury status.
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 returned fully on Friday and is good to go for Sunday.
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. Rader was able to get back on the field on Friday in a limited capacity and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
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 were headed in opposite directions as Davis was able to practice fully again the next day while Buggs must have suffered a setback as he was unable to practice on Thursday. On Friday, Davis was once again good to go and has no injury status for Sunday. As for Buggs, he did not practice yet again but is listed as questionable for Sunday.
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. On Friday, Banner returned as a full participant and caries no injury designation.
The only player ruled out for Sunday’s game was a new addition to injury report on Friday. Rookie buddy Johnson, listed with a foot injury, was not able to practice on Friday and has been ruled out for Sunday’s game.
As for the Titans’ injury report, it can be seen below courtesy of Steelers.com.
Tennessee Titans Participation/Injury Report, Week 15
FB Troy Carter (Ankle) - Out
CB Jackrabbit Jenkins (Ankle) - Out
LB David Long Jr. (Hamstring) - Out
DL Larrell Murchison (Knee) - Out
G Rodger Saffold III (Shoulder) - Out
DT Teair Tart (Ankle) - Out
OL Aaron Brewer (Toe) - Questionable
Friday, December 17
FB Troy Carter (Ankle) - DNP
S Dane Cruikshank (Illness) - Full
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) - Full
OL Aaron Brewer (Toe) - DNP
DL Denico Autry (Knee) - Limited
For more information on the Steelers and Titans’ injury reports, check out the BTSC Injury Report podcast below: