The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are just days away from squaring off at Heinz Field for the AFC North crown. The scenario is simple. Steelers win, they clinch the division and a playoff berth. Ravens win, they are in the driver’s seat to win the division, pushing Pittsburgh on the brink of missing the playoffs.
Although Pittsburgh has been a very healthy football team throughout their current 5-game winning streak, the injury bug has crept up on them in a bad way heading into a pivotal game.
Stephon Tuitt (knee) and Ladarius Green (concussion) were players with injuries sustained in the Week 15 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. When Sammie Coates (hamstring) left Thursday practice with a hamstring injury, you knew his availability would also be in jeopardy.
Tuitt and Green missed all week of practice, while Coates sat out on Friday. Normally, when players miss a week of practice they’re ruled out for the upcoming game. Nonetheless, the Steelers have only one player, Shamarko Thomas (concussion), ruled out for the Ravens game.
This is where things get strange. Coates and Green are both listed as doubtful. Reports stated the team wanted to see if Coates’ hamstring perked up on Sunday, but Green’s labeling as doubtful seems a bit off. Unless Green has already started to work his way back through the NFL concussion protocol, it is a shock he wasn’t listed as out alongside Thomas.
Other than those two players, Tuitt being labeled “questionable” was another eye-raising aspect of the injury report. Tuitt told reporters it will be a coaches’ decision whether he plays on Sunday or not. But again, for a player who hasn’t sniffed the practice field all week to be labeled anything but “out” is surprising.
Anthony Chickillo (ankle), Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) and Ricardo Mathews (ankle) are also considered questionable for the AFC North showdown this Sunday.
In other words, it’ll be interesting to see who plays and who doesn’t when these two rivals collide. But I wouldn’t be shocked if there was a little gamesmanship going on with Pittsburgh’s injury report.
See the entire Injury Report for both Pittsburgh and Baltimore below:
S Shamarko Thomas (Concussion)
LB Kamalei Correa (Ribs)
CB Jimmy Smith (Ankle)
LB Anthony Levine (Toe)
T Alex Lewis (Ankle)
WR Steve Smith (Thigh)
DE Brent Urban (Illness)