The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Green Bay Packers on the road in Week 4, and this upcoming contest figures to feature a much healthier team than they had in Week 3. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin updated the team’s Week 4 injury outlook during his Tuesday press conference, and it seemed to be very positive one on the surface.
“On the injury front, in-game, [Chukwuma] Okorafor is in the concussion protocol and that’ll be our guide in terms of his return to work and then we’ll let that quality of work be our guide in terms of his participation,” Tomlin said on Tuesday. “You guys know the protocol that we go through there. I’m anticipating JuJu [Smith-Schuster] practicing at some point this week. He may be limited tomorrow, but he’ll get back to work for us.”
In case you are scoring at home, Steelers tackle Chukwuma Okorafor left the Week 3 game in the second half with a possible concussion, and he never returned. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster also left that Week 3 game with a rib injury early in the third quarter, and he never returned to the contest.
The Steelers had several players that missed the Week 3 game with injuries, and Tomlin updated the statuses of three of them, outside linebackers T.J. Watt (groin) and Alex Highsmith (groin) and wide receiver Diontae Johnson (knee) on Tuesday.
“A number of guys who were out last week, Diontae Johnson, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, are scheduled to practice [this week] and then we’ll let the quantity and the quality of that practice be our guide in terms of determining their availability,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin, however, did not mention defensive tackle Carlos Davis (knee), who has missed the last two games with a knee injury,
As for Steelers center Kendrick Green, who left the Week 3 game in the second half with a knee injury, Tomlin indicated he should be fine to resume practicing this week as well.
“I think that’s bumps and bruises associated with play,” Tomlin said of Green’s Week 4 status. “I don’t think his availability is going to be limited starting tomorrow. If I’m wrong, obviously you’ll hear about it in the practice participation report.”
The Steelers have three players on their Reserve/Injured list that are now eligible to return and Tomlin somewhat gave an update on them on Tuesday. Those three players are tackle Zach Banner, defensive end Stephon Tuitt and running back Anthony McFarland Jr.
“Our IR guys are working hard,” Tomlin said. “Maybe in some instances are close but I haven’t asked a lot of detailed information about where they are at this point, although we’re now starting to get into the phase of eligibility and so forth. Once we deem those guys back to work, they get 21 calendar days to determine it and all of that in terms of their availability. So I don’t have a lot of details regarding that, other than acknowledgement that we are at that state. All the guys are working hard. I’ve been focused more on the updates of the guys that are on the active roster and working to return to us in the immediate future.”
By the way that Tomlin talked about those three players, it seems kind of doubtful that the team will get any of those three players back for their Week 4 game against the Packers.
The Steelers first injury report of Week 4 will be released after Wednesday’s practice has concluded.