Steelers News

Minkah Fitzpatrick Lobbied To Play Through Appendicitis: ‘I Was Trying To Get Them To Take It Out After The Game’

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has missed three games in his career due to injury. None of them have come from standard bumps and bruises associated with playing football, although the first game he missed this season was due to a concussion.

The first game of his career that he was forced to sit out came last year and that was due to having tested positive for COVID-19. The Steelers lost that game, but they won earlier this season when he was out with a concussion. And they won this past Sunday when he was forced to miss the game against the New Orleans Saints—because he was forced to have an emergency appendectomy.

And by forced, I mean forced. He told Ray Fittipaldo yesterday that he was lobbying to play on Sunday and to worry about his appendix after. “I was trying to get them to take it out after the game, but they told me no,” he quotes the safety as saying, noting that it was with the knowing smile of someone who understood that was never a realistic option.

While the emergency surgery cost him one game, head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday that he was optimistic the safety would be able to return in time for Sunday evening’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Indeed, he has already been back active during practice, at least to some extent, jogging and getting other physical engagement while understanding that the best approach, for now, is not to push things. There are still two more days left in the practice week, and he technically doesn’t need to practice at all to play.

“I’m just taking it day by day,” he told Fittipaldo in elaborating on his mindset as he returns from his minimally invasive operation. “I’m not trying to rush it. I’m not going to mess with internal organs or anything like that. I’ll let it heal and take it day to day.”

While the Steelers are eager to welcome him back into the fold, they have been fortunate to score a pair of victories while he has been out, and that is a credit to those who have filled in. Tre Norwood started the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his place, but it was the returning Damontae Kazee, making his 2022 debut, who started on Sunday.

Fitzpatrick is one of Pittsburgh’s top defenders without question and continues to lead the way with three interceptions, one of which he brought back for a touchdown back in week one. He also has six passes defensed and 45 tackles on the year through seven games played.

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