Mike Tomlin kept the door open for Joe Haden to play this week. But that certainly doesn’t guarantee #21 is suiting up and one member of the Steelers’ media is taking a pessimistic approach. In his weekly chat over at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Gerry Dulac believes the odds are against Haden suiting up Sunday afternoon.
“I wouldn’t hold your breath, but have to see him practice first,” was Dulac’s response when asked if he thought Haden will be active against the New England Patriots.
Haden suffered a fractured fibula against the Detroit Lions and has been out ever since. Dulac explained his reasoning.
“Typically, with injuries such as a fractured fibula, a player comes back for a week and tests his injury in practice on the scout team, not just to see how he reacts but, more important, to see how the injury responds after several days of work. After one week of that, and all goes OK, they put him back in his usual spot. I expect that to happen. Remember, too, this is not a do-or-die playoff game. There are more to follow and the Steelers don’t want to jeopardize his return by just throwing him in the lineup.”
Of course, Dulac isn’t a doctor and our Melanie Friedlander is optimistic about Haden’s chances of giving it a go. But maybe Dulac has a good feel for how the coaching staff feels and what they expect. If he can’t go, Cam Sutton and Coty Sensabaugh, though Sensabaugh is dealing with some sort of shoulder injury, will continue to fill-in at LCB. If either does play, expect Tom Brady to attack them relentlessly.
Getting Haden back for this game would be huge to help turn around a secondary that’s been torched week after week. But like Dulac says, it’s important not to rush him. Winning a Week 15 game is not what the Steelers’ yearly goal is. It’s coming home with a Lombardi.
The first Steelers’ practice report will be issued later today. We’ll get our first sense of Haden’s level of participation.