2017 South Side Questions: Can Tuitt Return For Sunday?

The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Could Stephon Tuitt really return to the field as soon as Sunday against the Vikings?

Saturday was a huge day for Stephon Tuitt, officially signing a new five-year extension that frankly made him rather wealthy. And through two plays into Sunday’s game, it looked like he was in a rush to justify his pay.

But in his rush to try to tackle Isaiah Crowell for a loss of several yards on that second play, he ended up injuring his bicep, which led to reported fears later in the day that he may have torn it, in which case his season would have come to a rather abrupt end, lasting about a minute or so.

But all of the news since then has been positive, with his teammate, Cameron Heyward, passing along the good word the following day that the MRI he had taken earlier in the day showed that it would not be a season-ending issue. Yesterday, Head Coach Mike Tomlin didn’t even rule Tuitt out to potentially play in the Steelers’ next game.

From the sounds of it, the fourth-year defensive lineman is going to make every effort to get right back out on the field, and whether or not he plays largely depends on how quickly the strength returns to his arm such that he would be able to defend himself and grapple with offensive linemen while he is in the game.

Getting him back so quickly would certainly be a big boost for the defense, and the Vikings will be a greater test than the Browns, so all help will be welcome. But credit must be given to the effort that Tyson Alualu and the rest of the reserve defensive linemen made in minimizing his absence on the field on Sunday. They can play without him. They’re just that much better with him.

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