Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t offer much of an injury update on tight end Vance McDonald during his Tuesday press conference other than saying that he didn’t suffer any sort of a setback last week after only practicing on limited basis last Wednesday.
However, reading in between the lines of what Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Wednesday morning during his weekly locker room media session, it’s certainly sounding like McDonald might miss Sunday’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs with a foot injury he’s been dealing with since the early stages of this year’s training camp.
“Vance is a really good weapon for us and we hope to have him out there soon,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday when asked about what it’s been like to not have McDonald out on the field with him so far this season. “But he’s got to be smart and get out there when he’s ready to go because we can’t afford to do something crazy and have him out for the whole season because he is a very vital part of this offense.”
During the middle of the preseason, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said he expected McDonald would be ready to play Week 1 against the Browns. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
The Steelers first injury report of Week 2 will be released after Wednesday’s practice is completed so we’ll wait and see if he can at least return to practice on a limited basis. Even if he’s able to practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be key days for him as it relates to predicting what his availability might be Sunday against the Chiefs.
Should McDonald wind up missing Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, expect fellow tight ends Jesse James and Xavier Grimble to see playing time in that contest similar to what both had in Week 1 against the Browns. Additionally, rookie tackle Chukwuma Okorafor will likely play another 10-20 snaps as an extra blocking tight end against the Chiefs should indeed McDonald not play against the Chiefs.