The Pittsburgh Steelers’ winning streak didn’t last long, two games to be exact, and the Baltimore Ravens handed them their eighth loss of the 2022 campaign. The loss was crippling in many ways, especially in the Steelers’ slim playoff hopes. Nonetheless, there are still four games remaining on the schedule, and how the team finishes the season will be important for many players’ futures.
Within the last four games, the Carolina Panthers game in Week 15 presents a unique challenge, and the challenge resides in the injury status of the Steelers team, mainly quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Tuesday, during Mike Tomlin’s weekly press conference, he outlined the current status of the team’s rookie quarterback.
The first thing the Steelers head coach talked about was the protocol which was followed during the game. In other words, why Pickett was evaluated after the first series, and was allowed to come back and play another series before being removed after that subsequent series.
Pickett was evaluated by the Steelers’ medical team, and cleared to continue. Once that is done, doctors and the independent neurologist continually evaluate players. After the next series it was determined Pickett can’t continue, and he was ruled out for the rest of the game as he entered the league’s concussion protocol.
Tomlin went on to talk about how the team will adhere to the protocol, and allow medical experts to provide framework on how to proceed. If you recall, after the Week 6 game vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all signs were positive after the game and Pickett was allowed to participate in practice preparing for the Miami Dolphins in Week 7.
As expected, Tomlin spoke about how Pickett’s participation in practice is big considering he’s a rookie. His overall ability to work will show if he has a chance to play in Week 15 on the road. Tomlin said if he’s able to work, they’ll work him and take it day-by-day.
The Steelers coach added Pickett was seeing doctors today, so the Wednesday injury report will be telling as to whether or not Pickett will be able to participate in practice and potentially be able to play vs. the Panthers.
In the meantime, if Pickett can’t practice the team is going to split reps between Mitch Trubisky and Mason Mason Rudolph. Tomlin even answered later in the press conference how the decision making at practice, with or without Pickett, will be considered day-by-day, and the coaching staff will make decisions accordingly.
Pickett’s injury wasn’t the only injury of concern. Defensive end Chris Wormley, who left the game with a knee injury and was not able to return, will require surgery and he’ll be out for at least this week. If surgery is required, it is safe to expect Wormley to find his way on Injured Reserve (IR) in the coming days leading up to the game.
The only other injured player was tight end Pat Freiermuth, who Tomlin said he was managing a foot injury throughout the game. It is expected to see the second year tight end’s level of participation will increase throughout the week and be available this Sunday.
Other than that, Tomlin labeled all other injuries as bumps and bruises associated with the game of football, and some players dealing with some of these injuries could be limited in early portions. Players like T.J. Watt (ribs) and Larry Ogunjobi (toe) would fall into this category, and have so throughout the season. According to Tomlin, no one else, in terms of injuries, were worth mentioning whose availability this week could be compromised.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for their next challenge in Week 15.
For a full rundown of Mike Tomlin’s time with the media, check out BTSC’s Press Conference Recap podcast below: