They held their first practice of the week on Tuesday, with a relatively busy injury report following. Here’s a full look at the Steelers injury report for Week 16.
Steelers injury report Week 16 (Tuesday)
DNP: S Trenton Thompson (neck), RB Najee Harris (knee), S Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee), LG Isaac Seumalo (shoulder)
Limited: QB Kenny Pickett (ankle), S Elijah Riley (ankle), OT Broderick Jones (ankle), TE Pat Freiermuth (knee), DT Cam Heyward (concussion)
Though the Steelers have a fairly busy injury report to start the week, there are only a few real surprises worth noting.
Among the four players who missed practice Tuesday, one name that sticks out is safety Trenton Thompson, who missed the first practice of the week after suffering a stinger against the Colts. Thompson has played a crucial role with the defense amidst some injuries at safety this season, first filling in for Minkah Fitzpatrick at free safety while he missed time due to a hamstring injury, then with snaps at strong safety following an injury to Keanu Neal that landed him on injured reserve.
Unfortunately, Thompson’s availability could prove crucial in Week 16 in particular, as Minkah Fitzpatrick has already been ruled out by HC Mike Tomlin with a knee injury suffered in Week 15 against the Colts. It’s been one of several injuries he’s dealt with this season, including the aforementioned hamstring injury, a broken hand and now the knee. Safety Damontae Kazee will also be out in this contest after receiving a suspension through the remainder of the 2023 season.
The only positive news the Steelers have received at safety is that the 21-day practice window for safety Elijah Riley, who’s been on IR with an ankle injury, has been activated, having logged a limited practice Tuesday. He and cornerback Patrick Peterson, who played 30 snaps at free safety in Week 15, could be holding down the fort against the Bengals this week.
Less surprising on the injury report, meanwhile, LG Isaac Seumalo hasn’t practiced since suffering a shoulder injury in Week 13, though he hasn’t missed a snap in either of the past two games despite not practicing. Running back Najee Harris has also missed practice in the previous weeks with the same knee injury, though he had no injury designation in Week 15.
Also notable Tuesday was quarterback Kenny Pickett’s return to practice following ankle surgery. Though Tomlin noted on Monday that they are planning to start Mason Rudolph at quarterback in Week 16, he declined to close the door on Pickett’s availability.
DT Cam Heyward (concussion) also logged a limited practice, an encouraging sign that he’s progressing through the league’s protocol, though he’ll need to be officially cleared by trainers and an independent neurological consultant in order to play in Week 16.
Newly listed with injuries are OT Broderick Jones (ankle) and TE Pat Freiermuth (knee), both limited on Tuesday.