Whether it’s Week 7 or Week 11, the Pittsburgh Steelers season will probably be over by the time T.J. Watt returns. Still, his return is expected this year. It’s just a matter of when, a timeline now cloudier following news that Watt recently underwent knee surgery that could delay his return by 1-2 weeks.
Following today’s loss to the Buffalo Bills, Mike Tomlin was asked about Watt’s status.
“TJ’s on IR,” he told reporters via the team’s YouTube channel. “When he’s scheduled to come back, if it’s close, we’ll have more details. I’m not disputing the report, but I’m more concerned about the guys that played today, were scheduled to play today and their readiness of what we did or did not do.”
During the broadcast, CBS’ Tracy Wolfson indicated Watt had surgery nine days ago. An unnamed member of the organization told her Watt’s surgery would have no impact on his return from the pec injury he suffered Week 1. Watt is eligible to come off IR as early as this upcoming Sunday, Week 6 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but those odds are looking unlikely. Per ESPN, team sources believe Watt won’t come back until after the bye, Week 10 at the earliest .
Over the last two seasons, Watt has battled an array of injuries. He played hurt for nearly all of 2021 and has only played one game this season, hurt in the fourth quarter of the opener against the Bengals.
Without him, the Steelers’ pass rush has bottomed out. After notching seven sacks in Week 1, they’ve recorded just three over the last four games. Twice this year, they’ve failed to sack the opposing quarterback, including a goose egg Sunday against Josh Allen.
Pittsburgh’s injury report continues to grow coming out of this game. CB Cam Sutton left with a hamstring injury that he suffered in Week 4 while CB Levi Wallace was concussed. DT Larry Ogunjobi injured his back while TE Pat Freiermuth was also concussed. The Steelers are the walking wounded and frankly, are simply painful to watch.
The Steelers will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday at 1 PM/EST.