Steelers Injury Update: T.J. Watt, Joe Haden, Kevin Dotson & More

TJ Watt

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers is helped up after being attended to on the field during the third quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions on November 14, 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost four starters to injury this past Sunday during a 16-16 tie with the Detroit Lions. Forty-eight hours later, the near-term outlook for those players is as about as good as one might hope, as none of the four—T.J. Watt, Joe Haden, Trai Turner and Kevin Dotson—seem ticketed for the injured reserve list.

Based on what Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said during his press conference on Tuesday afternoon, starting guard Trai Turner seems the most likely of the four to play this coming Sunday night against the Los Angeles Chargers.

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“I feel confident that Trai Turner is going to be able to show up,” said Tomlin, without noting that the Steelers lost Turner to an ankle injury in the third quarter vs. the Lions. He was soon labeled as questionable to return, as per Steelers director of communications Burt Lauten. Veteran free agent acquisition Joe Haeg—who can play either guard or tackle—took Turner’s place in the lineup.

As for fellow starting guard Kevin Dotson, he seems less likely to be back right away.

“We’ll give Dotson an opportunity but we don’t know where that leads in terms of his practice participation,” added Tomlin.

Dotson suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter against the Lions. Though he was able to limp off the field, he was carted off to the locker room before making a trip to the blue medical tent, unable to put weight on his right leg.

He was quickly ruled out of the rest of the game, as per the aforementioned Lauten, replaced in the lineup by backup center/guard J.C. Hassenauer. Initial reports—like one from Jeremy Fowler of ESPN—indicated that Dotson would likely miss “a couple of weeks.”

As for starting cornerback Joe Haden, his availability for Sunday will also be determined by his practice participation, according to Tomlin.

Haden left Sunday’s contest during the second quarter with a foot injury. He attempted to run on the sidelines after a trip to the medical tent but never returned to the game. Missi Matthews of Steelers.com went on to report that Haden suffered a “mid-foot sprain.”


Mike Tomlin: ‘I’ll Leave The Light on For T.J. Watt’

Last but not least, Tomlin left the door open for All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt to play on Sunday night, even if it doesn’t seem likely.

Watt was hurt while sacking Lions quarterback Jared Goff in conjunction with fellow linebacker Joe Schobert. Watt winced in pain as he made contact with Schobert and was seen holding his left knee while down on the ground. Ultimately he did walk off the field under his own power.


T.J. Watt FULL Injury Sequence vs. LionsDiscord Server: discord.gg/highlightheaven Clip Channel: youtube.com/c/HighlightHeaven2 Gaming Channel: youtube.com/c/HHG01 TikTok: tiktok.com/@highlight.heaven Business Email: highlightheavenbusiness@gmail.com Twitter: twitter.com/highlghtheaven Instagram: instagram.com/highlght.heaven/ Twitch: twitch.tv/highlightheaven Patreon: patreon.com/highlightheaven Merch: highlight-heaven.creator-spring.com/? (All rights go to ESPN, Fox, CBS, NBC, Universal Music Group, the NFL, NBA, NCAA, MLB, NHL, XFL & its broadcasters. I do not own the music and the footage used…2021-11-14T20:21:26Z

On Monday November 15, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network described Watt as “week-to-week” with hip and knee injuries.

“I’ll always leave the light on for T.J. Watt,” concluded Tomlin, loosely referencing the famous advertising slogan long used by budget motel chain Motel 6. “The things that he does routinely are not things that are done routinely by others. We’ll see where his participation leads us this week.”

As noted by Pro Football Reference, Watt has already missed one game this year due to injury, but that hasn’t stopped him from recording 39 tackles, with 13 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hits, plus three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.


COVID-19 Update: Ben Roethlisberger and Minkah Fitzpatrick

Meanwhile, there’s a possibility that starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be able to return in time for Sunday’s game against the Chargers, despite having been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday November 13.

“On the COVID front, Ben has an opportunity (to play on Sunday), provided he gets the required negative testing to be available to play,” said Tomlin, before pointing out that Roethlisberger has returned to action on a number of other occasions after having been “less than available during the course of the week.”

Yet the team is going to “build our plan around getting (backup quarterback) Mason (Rudolph) ready to play,” said Tomlin, adding that if Ben “has an opportunity to get on a moving train,” he will.

As for starting free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, it’s highly improbable that he will be seen at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

“Minkah is in the (COVID-19) protocol. We don’t anticipate him coming back (this week),” said Tomlin. He went on to say that replacing Fitzpatrick might be a “multiple-person job,” but he refused to say which players will be charged with filling in at free safety, even after being prodded by several different reporters.

Per Brooke Pryor of ESPN, he did acknowledge that rookie seventh-round pick Tre Norwood and “top special teams asset” Miles Killebrew would be “viable options” to help fill the void left by Fitzpatrick.


Steelers Press Conference (Week 11 vs Chargers): Coach Mike Tomlin | Pittsburgh SteelersCoach Mike Tomlin talks about the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 11 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, injury updates and more. #HereWeGo #Steelers #NFL Like our content? Want more? Be sure to subscribe to the Pittsburgh Steelers YT Channel: goo.gl/nAd4J2 Are you craving even more Steelers content? Head over our official home on the web: steelers.com/…2021-11-16T18:03:58Z

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