The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team dealing with a lot of issues right now. The lack of a running game, the inability to stop the run, and an overall lack of production has plagued the team for months.
Believe it or not, the one position group which has remained rather unscathed throughout the regular season has been the offensive line. It might not be the line many projected when Training Camp started, but the line of Chuks Okorafor, Trai Turner, Kendrick Green, Kevin Dotson and Dan Moore Jr. has remained together for a large portion of the season. Outside of the injury to Dotson, which has him closing in on a return to the 53-man roster, the line has been one of the healthiest position groups on the roster.
During the Week 16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the team lost two starting offensive lineman to injury. At this time it is unknown the severity of these injuries, but they are significant nonetheless.
Following the game Mike Tomlin announced how right guard Trai Turner left the game with a knee injury, and rookie center Kendrick Green exited the game with what he called a calf injury. Later in the media session Tomlin was asked about whether Green was pulled from the game for performance reasons, or health issues. Tomlin made it clear it was due to injury, not based on performance.
With Turner out, it was Joe Haeg who filled in at right guard, and J.C. Hassenauer who took over the center duties for the remainder of the game.
After reports of T.J. Watt suffering a cracked rib in the Week 15 win over the Tennessee Titans, Tomlin was asked about the injury and why he wasn’t on the injury report. Here was Tomlin’s response:
“He is dealing with a minor injury. It was not going to limit his play or prevent him from playing in any way.”
The Steelers not putting Watt on the injury report, even if he didn’t miss a practice, could have the NFL looking into the situation and potential discipline heading the Steelers’ way. It wouldn’t be the first time the league looked into the Steelers for a lack of acknowledging player injuries.
These injuries will be something to keep an eye on as the team now turns their attention away from the debacle vs. the Chiefs and to the Week 17 matchup on Monday Night Football at Heinz Field vs. the Cleveland Browns. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they press on throughout the regular season.