The Pittsburgh Steelers went into Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders with an indisposed defense and left with the squad in worse shape, but it appears that there’s hope.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Steelers All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt — who exited with a groin injury in the first half of the Steelers’ Week 2 loss — may be available in Week 3.
Rapoport reports Watt’s injury is not believed to be major and should not keep him out multiple games.
But as a dominant defensive presence, Watt’s absence was noticed when he was out in the second half of Week 2.
Watt already has three sacks through six quarters of play, as well as two forced fumbles, SB Nation reports. It is hopeful Watt can rejoin the team this Sunday in the Steelers’ first AFC North matchup of the 2021 season.
Earlier this month, the Steelers and Watt agreed to a four-year, $112 million extension that makes the All-Pro outside linebacker the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, with $80 million guaranteed, as OutKick previously reported.
More injury news plagued the team on Sunday, as the team said defensive lineman Tyson Alualu — who fractured his ankle during the Sunday game — will miss an extended period of time.
The other two players who missed Sunday’s game — linebacker Devin Bush and cornerback Joe Haden — do not have a status update at this time, head coach Mike Tomlin said.
“We had two guys that got injured in Friday’s practice, Devin Bush and Joe Haden, both soft tissue injuries,” Tomlin said on Sunday. “I don’t know their status. I know they weren’t available today. We were focused on the guys that were.”
Monday brings a renewed hope of player availability moving forward, as wide receiver Diontae Johnson — who was injured on the final play of Sunday’s game — may not have sustained a significant injury to his knee as was originally thought, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports.
Tomlin said the team will absorb the situation and make corrections to grow from it.
“More than anything, we’ve got to grow. Win or lose, we’ve got to grow,” Tomlin said. “We’ve got too many young people, new people, in significant roles and they just have to grow in terms of understanding those roles, the details required to win, the skills relative to their position to execute in those critical moments. Back to work for us.”
The Steelers host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m.
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