Buongiorno and greetings from Italy. I wasn’t able to see the game live last night but I’m catching up now. A rough Week 2 for the Pittsburgh Steelers and fans, with a close loss and a laundry list of injuries, including the franchise QB. I will have more detailed thoughts on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his elbow coming but here are my initial impressions all of the players on the injury list per Mike Tomlin’s post-game press conference.
QB Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben only played the first half, completing 8/15 for 75 yards. Late in the 2nd quarter, Ben shook his right hand and grabbed his right elbow, looking to the sideline. He was evaluated in the locker room and returned to the sideline but never came back into the game. Roethlisberger kept his pads on — as the only other QB on the active roster for the game, Ben would likely have returned if backup QB Mason Rudolph had to leave the game. After the game, there was a report that Ben had been dealing with inflammation in the elbow of his throwing arm during the week. For what it’s worth, he didn’t look uncomfortable throwing for most of the first half. He will have an MRI today and hopefully, we’ll learn more soon. Typically when a potentially significant injury is in question, news is broken by Ian Rapoport or Adam Schefter fairly quickly, so we may not have to wait until Tomlin Tuesday.
RB James Conner. The starting RB left the game early in the 4th Q with a reported knee injury. Prior to that, he logged 11 carries for 33 yards and a TD. It was a quiet exit, as Conner completed a carry, was helped up by a hand from Ramon Foster, left the field, and was replaced by Jaylen Samuels. Conner was reportedly limping as he left the field and held his left knee as he entered the blue tent but it isn’t shown in the regular broadcast, so I will have to wait for the All 22 to see it. He showed no sign of injury prior to his last play, so he most likely sustained it on that final tackle. By video, it seems Conner’s left leg may have gotten caught but it does not appear to be a serious injury. No doubt an MRI is in order and hopefully Conner won’t miss any time.
S Sean Davis. After missing the first week of the regular season with an ankle sprain, Davis left the game with what was reported as a shoulder injury. It seems his last play in the game was the TD by Seahawks Rashaad Penny late in the 3rd Q but Davis didn’t sustain any contact on that play so it must have happened some time prior to that. Kameron Kelly took over on the next defensive series. An MRI is almost a certainty, but I would anticipate that we won’t hear more until Tomlin’s press conference on Tuesday. Depending on the severity of the injury, Davis may opt to play through the pain if his strength and range of motion aren’t limited.
ILB Vince Williams. Reported as a hamstring injury, we can unfortunately expect Williams to miss a few weeks. He did have a hamstring strain during the preseason but it’s not clear if this is the same side.
OLB Anthony Chickillo. Reported as plantar fasciitis, Chickillo was seen wearing a boot after the game. This is an injury that is typically made by a clinical diagnosis (i.e., by examining the player), but Chickillo is probably yet another player heading for an MRI or possibly an ultrasound on Monday. And if he does, in fact, have plantar fasciitis, not only could the special teams vet miss multiple weeks, he could land on IR. A tear of the fascia along the bottom of the foot is the type of injury that can linger.
Week 3 could be a big test of Tomlin’s “next man up” philosophy but hopefully some of the starters on the post-game injury report will not miss much or any playing time.