For those who didn't know, teams who are entering their bye week still practice before they officially take some time off. Those practices are typically on Monday and Tuesday of the bye week, and this is the same schedule the Pittsburgh Steelers followed this week. Most shrug off these practices, but for a team as banged up as the Steelers, there were some really good signs coming out of these two days of practice.
The most important, and obvious, aspect of these two practices were watching the team get several injured players back on the practice field, even if only for individual drills. None would be more crucial than Ben Roethlisberger and Cameron Heyward.
Heyward, who is the team's best run stopper and defensive captain, has been dealing with a hamstring injury suffered in the team's Week 5 win over the New York Jets. He was able to get back on the field and test out the injury, and to gauge how close, or far away, he is to possibly returning.
Cam Heyward said he did individual work pic.twitter.com/xgxZm8xMe3— Chris Bradford (@BCTBradford) October 26, 2016
With an injury like a hamstring injury, the team will take caution on how much Heyward can do on any given day. If his body responds appropriately, there is a good chance he can return to practice next week. Heyward is hoping to return to the lineup against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9, and they will need him, but they will also benefit if Ben Roethlisberger is able to also return to the lineup next week.
After suffering a meniscus injury in the first half of the team's Week 6 loss to the Miami Dolphins, Roethlisberger has been very open about how patient he has to be with the injury. Several reports have swirled regarding his potential return, but the fact Roethlisberger was moving around and throwing at practice, albeit soft passes in individual work, is a good sign of him returning to practice when the team returns from their bye week.
Baby steps for Roethlisberger pic.twitter.com/djWn6pP1Hy— Chris Bradford (@BCTBradford) October 26, 2016
The true test for Roethlisberger will be if/when he returns to practice, how his knee responds. Roethlisberger is reportedly set to start his rehabilitation after surgery this week, and his participation in practice is absolutely a step in the right direction.
Another player's return worth noting is Ladarius Green. Green, who had been dealing with lingering ankle issues coming off of surgery this offseason, finally stepped onto the practice field Monday, and how his ankle rebounded from the work load could determine how long it takes the Steelers to activate him to the 53-man roster.
The ankle was good enough to get back out on the practice field Tuesday, and under the close eye of Mike Tomlin.
The Steelers have now officially entered the bye week where some player leave town to visit friends and family, and others, especially those rehabbing injuries, stay in town to continue to do work.
Be sure to stay tuned in to BTSC for all the latest injury updates, news and everything else surrounding the black and gold.