The Pittsburgh Steelers were a healthy crew, but then Wednesday happened.
During practice, Pittsburgh watched two defensive starters leave early with injuries. Artie Burns left with what turned out to be a hyper-extended knee, and Stephon Tuitt left with what the team called an elbow injury.
The tandem of defensive starters sat out practice on Thursday, but declared they would practice on Friday and be ready to play Sunday when the Jaguars come to town.
Stephon Tuitt & Artie Burns tell us they didn't participate in today's practice but expect to tomorrow. Tuitt says he expects to play.— Ryan Recker (@RyanRecker) January 11, 2018
While Burns’ diagnosis was known earlier in the day, Tuitt did tell Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com how he had an MRI on his injured elbow and everything turned out to be “okay”.
Tuitt said he had an MRI on his elbow and everything checked out. “I’ll be good. I’ll be ready to put my pads back on tomorrow.”— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) January 11, 2018
To throw another wrench into the plans, starting nose tackle Javon Hargrave also missed practice on Thursday with a back injury. For those counting at home, that makes three starting defenders who are certainly questionable leading up to the biggest game of the season.
Friday’s practice will be huge for this trio because any of the three not practicing will likely equate to them missing the game on Sunday. Plenty to discuss, but if Hargrave, Tuitt and Burns all practice fully Friday, the Steelers still might have a clean bill of health heading into the postseason — which was the plan all along.
On a positive note, Antonio Brown was a full participant again and B.J. Finney also joined him as a full participant. Barring a setback, these two offensive players seem good-to-go vs. the Jaguars.
Check out the full injury report below for both Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
CB Artie Burns (Knee)
DT Javon Hargrave (Back)
DE Stephon Tuitt (Elbow)
WR Antonio Brown (Calf)
C/G B.J. Finney (Thigh)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
LB Blair Brown (Ankle)
CB Jalen Ramsey (Achilles)
CB Aaron Colvin (Illness)
LB Telvin Smith (Ankle)
LB Paul Posluszny (Abdomen)
WR Jaydon Mickens (Hamstring)
QB Blake Bortles (Right Wrist)
FB Tommy Bohanon (Knee)
LB Donald Payne (Quadricep)
TE Marcedes Lewis (Ankle)
DT Abry Jones (Achilles)