On a short week of preparation, missing practice is a big deal. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gave several veterans a day off Wednesday to help them rest and recover before they play the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card game Saturday night, but when your starting running back hasn't even been a limited participant through the first two practices -- it is time to raise the red flag.
DeAngelo Williams' ankle has been monitored like hawks by the local media recently. Is he wearing a boot? Why is the boot back on? All of these questions continue without any answers as Williams hasn't spoken to the media since the team's Week 17 win over the Cleveland Browns.
What has been clear is Williams hasn't practiced. If the Steelers playoff game were Sunday, it would allow Williams to get back on the practice field Friday before the team plays Sunday, but the short week means a light walk-through for the team Friday before leaving for Cincinnati, OH. The Steelers could have Williams participate in a limited setting Friday, leaving his availability a game-time decision, but as of right now it isn't looking good for Williams' status.
Thursday practice report for @Steelers: only player to miss practice with injury/illness was RB DWilliams (foot)— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) January 7, 2016
Obviously, Williams missed practice with his foot injury, but safety Will Allen also missed, but not due to an injury or illness. All other members of the Pittsburgh Steelers were on the practice field preparing for the biggest game of the season to date.
The Steelers will announce their final injury report Friday, which will dictate exactly how likely it will be to see No. 34 in the backfield on Saturday night.