Steelers Update Injury Status of Kenny Pickett, 2 Other Key Players

Getty Steelers QB Kenny Pickett is tackled.

Good news ahead of a critical prime-time showdown with the Miami Dolphins. On October 21, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that three key players had cleared concussion protocol: Quarterback Kenny Pickett, tight end Pat Freiermuth and cornerback Levi Wallace. Each is on track to suit up on October 23 for Sunday Night Football in The Magic City.

Pickett’s injury occurred in the third quarter of the Steelers’ victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After releasing the ball, Pickett was taken to the ground by Buccaneers linebacker Devin White.

Moments after the Steelers revealed that Pickett was being evaluated for a concussion and questionable to return, he was ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky came in to save the day and led Pittsburgh to its second win of the season.

Pickett, Freiermuth and Wallace aren’t the only good news on the injury front. Cornerback Cam Sutton (hamstring) and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee) are also expected to return to the lineup. They both missed the Week 5 game versus the Buccaneers.

Kenny Pickett Talks for First Time Post-Concussion

Since injured players don’t participate in media sessions, Kenny Pickett had not yet spoken to reporters since he exited the Week 6 game.

When Pickett finally did get in front of the media on October 21, he was tight-lipped as the Pittsburgh Steelers instruct players to be with injuries.

“I’m better,” a beaming Pickett told reporters.

“I remember everything. I’m not going to get into the details of it. I went through it with the doctors and the medical staff, some of the best in the country. I feel great with where I’m at.”

Former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart, who’d suffered many concussions during his career, had these words of advice: “…If it was me talking to Kenny Pickett, I would say, ‘Listen to yourself. Be transparent with yourself (and) don’t try to overdo it.'”

Pickett’s concussion is under more scrutiny, given the recent incident surrounding Tua Tagovailoa.

“I’m sure naturally, because of everything happening around the league, people are looking at it more,” Pickett said. “But obviously, every case is its own, and it’s different. Like I said, I trust the doctors, and I feel good with where I’m at.”

Tagovailoa cleared concussion protocol on October 15 and will make his first start in two games in the Week 7 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kenny Pickett Bucking the Concussion Trend

According to Pro Football Doc, Dr. David Chao, Kenny Pickett’s situation is “unheard of.”

“No concussed players this season have returned to full practice on their first day of reporting,” Chao wrote. “The normal pattern is to go from Did Not Practice (DNP) to Limited Practice (LP) to Full Practice (FP) and then cleared.”

According to Chao, via 93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Filliponi, “Kenny Pickett is the first player to return to full practice three days after suffering a brain injury. Also, only six (of 39) players all year have returned to play a game a week after a concussion.”

As with most injuries and illnesses, the length of symptoms and side effects depends on the severity. According to Broadview Spine & Health Centre, there are three types of concussions: Mild, moderate and severe. Pickett’s quick turnaround points to a milder concussion case. Looking at the video, there’s no question his head comes in contact with the ground.

Pickett was a full participant in the first team practice since their Week 6 win. He said he went through his typical practice process and doctor’s recommendations on the field to see how he was feeling. “I felt great going through my routine and playing. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been out there.”

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made it very clear in his weekly press conference on October 18: “I’ll say this: If he’s cleared to play, he’ll play. He’ll play quarterback for us.”

Expect Kenny Pickett to be under center for the very first prime-time showdown of his young career.