The Pittsburgh Steelers are attempting to advance their record to 5-1 on the season with a win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 6, but there is a huge question mark on their injury report heading into the AFC matchup.
The injured player? None other than budding star wide receiver Sammie Coates.
As most know, Coates suffered a laceration on his finger during the first half of the Week 5 game against the New York Jets, which required stitches at halftime. Coates played the rest of the game, and had a career day. The days after the game saw Coates experiencing swelling and discomfort in the hand, and it kept him off the practice field until Friday.
Mike Tomlin has a strict policy about players who don't practice not playing, and it was a positive sign to see Coates as a full participant in practice, but he is listed as questionable. In this case, it truly could be a 50-50 shot of him playing or not.
There is no way the cut on his finger has healed in just a week, but they could possibly numb and tape the appendage, in hopes of helping him get on the field, but if Coates can't play, it could have huge ramifications for the game plan and the lineup.
If Coates can't play, the team will most certainly be bringing Cobi Hamilton up from the practice squad to help fill out the wide receiver depth chart. It would be Antonio Brown, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Eli Rogers and Hamilton. With Markus Wheaton out for this game, they can't rely on his experience to buoy the team if Coates is unable to play.
If the finger is healed enough, or they aren't risking further injury by Coates playing, the Steelers could potentially see just what Coates' progression will mean for the offense. The past two weeks Coates has thrived on one-on-one matchups. Look at his film, and you see all the attention going elsewhere, leaving him in a position to win those battles, and he has done just that. With those two big games, there is no doubt the Dolphins defense will be thinking about him, which could open up more space for Antonio Brown. It truly is a pick your poison scenario for any opposing defense.
Coates will likely be a game-time decision, and you can stay tuned to BTSC for all the latest injury news and updates throughout the weekend.
Check out the full injury reports for both the Steelers and Dolphins below:
T Marcus Gilbert (Ankle)
DE Cameron Heyward (Hamstring)
LB Ryan Shazier (Knee)
S Shamarko Thomas (Groin)
C Cody Wallace (Knee)
WR Markus Wheaton (Shoulder)
WR Sammie Coates (Finger)
TE Jordan Cameron (Concussion)
CB Xavien Howard (Knee)
S Isa Abdul Quddus (Knee)
RB Arian Foster (Hamstring)
WR Jakeem Grant (Ankle)
TE MarQueis Gray (Calf)
LB Jelani Jenkins (Groin)
S Reshad Jones (Groin)
G Anthony Steen (Ankle)
T Laremy Tunsil (Ankle)