The Pittsburgh Steelers are on a streak, unfortunately the streak I’m speaking of isn’t the good kind. And, no, I’m not talking about the team’s four straight losses. I’m talking about the fact the Steelers haven’t won a game without T.J. Watt in the lineup since he was drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The most recent loss, extending the aforementioned streak, was an embarrassing 38-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 5. It has Steelers fans wondering when Watt will be returning to the lineup, but there is no definitive answer to this query.
Saturday it was reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN that Watt underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee, and it could delay his return to the team’s 53-man active roster.
Pittsburgh’s reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery that now is likely to delay his return by another week or two, sources told @bepryor and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 9, 2022
More on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown and here:https://t.co/zyVaQApO8U
However, on Sunday CBS Sports’ Tracy Wolfson said during the game Watt’s timeline for return has not been affected by the knee surgery.
TJ Watt’s timetable for return not affected by knee surgery, per Tracy Wolfson.— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) October 9, 2022
Notice what Wolfson ultimately said, the knee surgery won’t delay his timeline to return, but never once said when his return would be.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac decided to chime in, and suggested, per his sources, the Week 10 game vs. the New Orleans Saints at home following the bye week is the expected return date for the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year.
TJ Watt expected to return after the bye on Nov 13 against New Orleans, per team sources.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) October 9, 2022
So, what can we derive from all of these reports and rumors? The simple fact no one, including those with “sources” knows when Watt will return. Unless you are in the building and know the nature of Watt’s pectoral injury, anything suggesting when he will return is nothing more than speculation.
Mike Tomlin was asked about Watt’s return, and the reports of his knee surgery, in the post-game press conference. Here was his response:
“T.J.’s on IR. When he’s scheduled to come back, if it’s close, we’ll have more details. I’m not disputing the report. But I’m more concerned about the guys that played today and were scheduled to play today and their readiness and what we did or did not do.”
All of this doesn’t mean the above reports are false. Watt likely did have his knee cleaned up, and it might not impact his overall return to the team. That return though, is anyone’s guess.
The Steelers need Watt back in a bad way, but no one would suggest he come back too early and potentially suffer a worse injury. In the meantime, fans will have to be patient, which is difficult. In the meantime, the Steelers will try to end their losing streak, and the streak without having Watt available, this Sunday when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Acrisure Stadium.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for the remainder of the 2022 regular season.