Steelers not ruling out a Minkah Fitzpatrick return in Week 10
The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Green Bay Packers in Week 10, and they are not just coming off a Week 9 win over the Tennessee Titans, they are also coming off the proverbial “mini bye” which accompanies the short week.
For the Steelers, who have had a rash of injuries hit the lineup this season, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Many were wondering they could see the return of a player like Minkah Fitzpatrick return to the practice field, or just allowing Kenny Pickett’s rib injury to heal and recover.
Nonetheless, when Mike Tomlin met with the media Tuesday he spoke about the players who were banged up from the previous week and who they are hoping to get back before the Packers invade Acrisure Stadium for the final of three straight home games.
The biggest name who has been banged up was safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Mike Tomlin said his hamstring injury is improving, but he didn’t go nearly as far into that explanation as many fans would likely want. Nonetheless, Tomlin added he wants to see what the week holds for the All-Pro safety to see if there is a potential for return at the end of the week. In other words, don’t be shocked if Fitzpatrick is limited, if at all, early in the week. The one thing the team wants to avoid is a Pat Freiermuth situation where upon his return he re-injures the muscle and is sidelined longer.
The only other injury mentioned by Mike Tomlin was that of nose tackle Montravius Adams. Adams suffered an ankle injury in the Week 9 game, one which has the Steelers following him closely throughout the week to see his potential availability.
The injury to Adams last week, couple with Armon Watts being inactive, but an unnecessary strain on the defensive front. This meant the Steelers had to lean hard on captain Cam Heyward when he was activated off IR and returned to the lineup. Tomlin admitted Heyward played more than they wanted him to, and the extra days rest the team had this weekend were great for him.
Kenny Pickett, who was dealing with a rib injury last week, was not mentioned by Tomlin, nor asked about him by the media, which should notify fans his injury is all but an afterthought moving forward.
All other injuries were labeled as “bumps and bruises associated with play” by Tomlin, so the first injury report on Wednesday will be a great opportunity to see specific players who might be limited in the early stages of the week.
Earlier this week the Steelers announced Cole Holcomb went on Injured Reserve (IR) and they activated Anthony McFarland Jr. off IR and added him to the 53-man roster. Tomlin said Kwon Alexander is both expected to, and capable of, replacing Holcomb within the defensive system.
The Steelers are 5-3, although many find that hard to believe, and they are in the midst of a fierce divisional race. All four teams who call the AFC North home are all 5-3 or better, and the Steelers will need all hands on deck to continue their winning ways.
Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the regular season.