2016 South Side Questions: Was Roosevelt Nix A Healthy Scratch?

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: Was Roosevelt Nix a healthy scratch on Sunday?

It’s a simply question, but it’s one that we don’t have an answer to, and I’m not entirely sure whether or not we will get a clear answer to that today during Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s weekly pre-game press conference. Roosevelt Nix was inactive on Sunday in spite of the fact that he is seemingly healthy.

He has not, of course, been healthy for the entire season. In fact, he has missed the majority of the action going all the way back to the preseason and in training camp. Nix has been dealing with a back injury, and was inactive, and mostly not practicing, for the first five weeks of the season.

But he was back on the field for the Steelers during the final two games before their bye week, and it seemed to be the case that he was now recovered and ready to go ahead full-on, so when he was listed as among the inactives on Sunday, it was a surprise.

He was not, to be clear, on the injury report during the course of the week leading up to the game. Nor was he on the injury report for the previous game. He was a full participant on every day of practice in the game leading up to his return. He even played 50 percent of the Steelers’ special teams snaps in Week Seven.

All of this leads me to have to assume that he could have been a healthy scratch, which frankly I don’t really understand. While David Johnson is capable of playing the fullback role in the Steelers’ offense, Nix is also a core special teams player, as evidenced by the fact that he got right back involved in that aspect upon his return, even though his offensive snaps were highly limited.

So, was Nix healthy? If so, why didn’t he play? And if he’s not healthy, then what is going on with him? Is he still dealing with a back injury, and if he is, is that going to end up landing him on injured reserve?

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