2016 South Side Questions: Will Ladarius Green Play This Week?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: Will the Steelers get Ladarius Green on the field for their next game?

The Pittsburgh Steelers went out and spent good money this offseason on a tight end that they were counting on to replace what they had lost in Ladarius Green, only to see him sidelined with an ankle injury—and subsequent surgery—than they had anticipated.

While the team’s tight end depth has had some high bar moments—more so as receiving options rather than as blockers, as Jesse James has in particular been disappointing in that regard—none of them match the sheer talent that Green brings.

Of course, he has spent the first six weeks on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but he is eligible to begin practicing this week, and could play in the next game if the Steelers choose to activate him to the 53-man roster before then. We will probably learn tomorrow for sure whether or not he practices on Wednesday.

Even if he does practice, however—even if he goes through a full week of practices—I would not say that it was a guarantee that he would be activated. After all, this is a player who has never taken a single practice rep up to this point with the team, although he has been in the playbook since March.

More importantly than that is the fact that he is not going to be in football shape, having spent most of the past year limited physically by what he is able to do on that ankle.

On the other hand, Green himself sounded reasonably optimistic about things, and seemed to indicate that it was more on the coaches to decide to activate him this week based on what he does in practice.

That is also consistent with Kevin Colbert’s comments a few weeks ago, during which he seemed to believe the odds were good that Green would be ready to go after six weeks, and perhaps even before that. We haven’t really been given any status update about where he is physically in a while, so that understandably makes it more difficult to make an educated guess.

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