The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered several injuries during their Monday night road win against the New York Giants with two of those believed to be serious in nature. On Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin addressed those injuries during his noon press conference.
“First, from an injury standpoint, I don’t have a lot of new information, but I think it’s safe to characterize Zach Banner is out for this week,” Tomlin said. “They’re still in the process of getting scans on Wiz [Stefen Wisniewski] and James Conner, but I think their forecast is a more favorable one. So, we’ll leave the light on for those two.
“So, we’ll make some necessary adjustments and close ranks on a short week and see where that leads us in terms of division of labor. But we acknowledge that injuries are part of the game and although they are unfortunate for those men, it could mean opportunity for other deserving and capable men, just like it was on Monday night for Benny Snell and he put that on display.”
While Tomlin didn’t confirm a Tuesday morning report that tackle Zach Banner is now lost for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee, the fact that Steelers are reportedly signing tackle Jerald Hawkins off the practice squad of the Houston Texans is a pretty string sign that’s the case. Banner will be headed to the team’s Reserve/Injured list this week barring some sort of miracle.
As for the two other players that Tomlin mentioned guard Stefen Wisniewski (pec) and James Conner (ankle), it doesn’t sound like either will be lost for the season. Even so, it’s probably good bet that both players will ultimately miss practice time this week and quite possibly not play Sunday at home against the Denver Broncos. The original thought on Wisniewski was that he suffered a season-ending pectoral injury. Hopefully that’s not the case.
If Wisniewski is sidelined for the Week 2 game, perhaps rookie guard Kevin Dotson will get the start at right guard should usual starter David DeCastro, who missed the Monday night game with a knee injury, is still unable to play. Tomlin was asked to update DeCastro’s status during his Tuesday press conference.
“You know, I don’t know,” Tomlin said of DeCastro. “I’m hopeful that he’s able to work tomorrow. We’ll see.”
If Conner can’t play against the Broncos, Benny Snell Jr. would likely get the start and be backed up Jaylen Samuels and possibly Anthony McFarland Jr., who was inactive Monday night against the Giants. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com on Tuesday, Conner avoided a high ankle sprain Monday night and he’ll get further clarity this week on his injury.
The Steelers first official injury report of Week 2 will be released after the team’s Wednesday practice.