The Pittsburgh Steelers nabbed the seventh seed in the AFC thanks to a win over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday coupled by a Jacksonville Jaguars loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, but now they’ll have to face the Buffalo Bills without one of their stars.
Linebacker T.J. Watt was injured in Saturday’s must-win-game. The extent of Watt’s injury came with a lot of confusion. Initially the injury was reported as a Grade 3 MCL sprain and later it was said that the 29-year-old linebacker had an MCL tear. However, after an MRI on Monday, Watt’s older brother and retired defensive end J.J. Watt, announced that the injury was a Grade 2 sprain. The older Watt also said that the best-case scenario would be a couple of weeks’ rest. On Monday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t hesitate to rule the seven-year veteran linebacker out for Sunday.
Steelers’ HC Mike Tomlin ruled out TJ Watt for Pittsburgh’s wild-card matchup vs. the Bills.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 9, 2024
The loss of Watt is a tough one for the Steelers. Watt recorded 39 tackles, 19 sacks, one interception, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries this season. The next most productive Pittsburgh defender was Alex Highsmith with seven sacks. No one else had more than three.
In addition to Watt being ruled out, Tomlin announced that safety Minkah Fitzpatrick would be limited in the week’s early practices but held out hope that he would progress to being able to play by Sunday. Fitzpatrick, who had 35 tackles this season, has been inactive for the past three weeks with a knee injury.
Linebacker Elandon Roberts suffered a pectoral injury back in Week 16. After missing Week 17, he returned to play in the season’s finale but was very limited. Roberts, who had 58 tackles and 2.5 sacks during 2023, was able to record just a single tackle in Baltimore. Tomlin indicated that the Steelers would be taking it slow and keeping Roberts limited during the beginning of the week in hopes that he can play in Orchard Park, NY.
Steelers injuries:— Mike DeFabo (@MikeDeFabo) January 9, 2024
- Minkah Fitzpatrick will be limited early in week, "optimistic" about his inclusion
- T.J. Watt is OUT
- Elandon Roberts may be limited early in week.
- Kazee they'll evaluate him from conditioning standpoint
We’ll know more about the status of the Steelers’ roster once we see an official injury report.