While staying remotely healthy throughout the 2017 regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers were dealt a major injury during their Week 15 loss to the New England Patriots when Antonio Brown left the game with a calf injury.
Since the game, there have been reports of Brown suffering a partially torn calf, a sprained calf, but Mike Tomlin labeled it as a severe contusion to his lower leg. Brown is ruled out for the Week 16 game against the Houston Texans, but his eventual return has bee anything but consistent when it comes to those “reports”.
This from Adam Schefter of ESPN:
Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown is not expected to be ready for the wild-card round of the playoffs, a league source told ESPN.
If Pittsburgh wants to enhance its chances of having Brown for the start of its playoff run, the Steelers would have to clinch a bye during wild-card round.
The Steelers are vying for one of the conference's two top seeds, which would carry a bye and an an extra week of rest for Brown and the rest of the players.
With Schefter suggesting Brown would only be ready for the AFC Divisional round of the AFC Playoffs, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is suggesting the injury isn’t nearly as major as many believe, and Brown could be available for Week 17, if they would need him — which they don’t.
From @NFLGameDay: #Steelers WR Antonio Brown's calf injury is not a major one. The team is confident he'll be % whenever he takes the field next. pic.twitter.com/m7xejdDTqA— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 24, 2017
So, to sum this all up, the only people who truly know when Brown will return are the trainers and coaches within the Steelers organization. Be weary of the online “reports” from random “sources”, and trust what the Pittsburgh Steelers officially release.
Mike Tomlin stated Brown is out for Week 16, and although the team likely won’t need him in Week 17 vs. the Browns, Brown’s practice availability will be the true indicator of when he is close to a return.
Nonetheless, the Steelers claiming a first round bye will be huge for the health of Brown, and his teammates, heading into the postseason.