On Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers held their first practice of the week and two defensive starters were held out due to injury. Inside linebacker Vince Williams has a quad injury and defensive tackle Tyson Alualu has a knee injury.
In addition, starting cornerback Steven Nelson was a limited participant (knee), while kicker Chris Boswell was limited as well. Boswell missed the last two games of the regular season with a groin issue, following in the wake of a hip injury that kept him out of the loss to Washington on December 7.
If Boswell can’t go on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, he will be replaced by Matthew Wright, who has subbed in for three games this season and has converted all of the extra-point and field-goal attempts he has been asked to attempt.
There was some good news on the injury front on Wednesday as strong safety Terrell Edmunds was a full participant after missing the season-finale on Sunday. It’s the first game that Edmunds has missed in the course of his three-year career, which has been defined by his “availability.”
Robert Spillane and Matt Feiler Return to Practice
In addition, both inside linebacker Robert Spillane and offensive guard Matt Feiler returned to practice today for the first time in weeks. On Tuesday, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that several ‘significant’ Steelers players could return this week, Spillane and Feiler among them.
Spillane injured a knee against Washington on December 7th and was placed on injured reserve five days later. Feiler suffered a pectoral injury against the Buffalo Bills on December 13th, and was placed on IR shortly afterwards.
Tomlin hopes that the team gets healthy enough on the offensive line and at linebacker that he has to choose among healthy options, as opposed to being forced to play select players because there are no other options.
“The inclusion or the potential inclusion of those guys is exciting, but it also creates some challenges from a decision-making standpoint, because we feel like we have some options,” said Tomlin on Tuesday. “The guys who played in place of some of those guys have done good work for us. That’s a good problem to have as we prepare this week.”
Yet at this moment, both players remain on injured reserve—and the Steelers now have 21 days to restore them to the active roster (or keep them on IR for the duration of the playoffs).
Cleveland Browns Injury Report
Meanwhile, Cleveland had just one player miss its virtual practice on Wednesday, that being wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, who suffered a concussion against the Steelers in the season-finale.
Five other players were characterized as “limited,” those being:
OT Jack Conklin (knee)
DT Sheldon Richardson (neck)
CB M.J. Stewart (calf)
G Wyatt Teller (ankle)
C JC Tretter (knee)
The Browns are in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak that will leave them without their head coach on Sunday. Nevertheless, the game is expected to proceed as scheduled, Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET at Heinz Field.
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