Steelers Insider Offers Injury Update on TJ Watt, Other Members of the ‘Groin Club’

TJ Watt

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Linebacker T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles quarterback Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders on September 19, 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t required to issue another injury/participation report until Sept. 22, but Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes that the names of at least three defensive starters will be prominent on Wednesday’s list. On Monday night, the longtime Steelers insider reported that “the Steelers may not have all members of the Groin Club—Joe Haden, Devin Bush and T.J. Watt—ready for Sunday’s game against the Bengals.”

That’s bad news for a Steelers defense that gave up 26 points and 382 passing yards in a home loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sept. 19, thanks in part to the absence of all three. Haden and Bush missed the Raiders game in its entirety, having suffered groin injuries in practice two days prior to the game.

As for Watt, he left the contest in the second quarter, which took much of the steam out of Pittsburgh’s previously fierce pass rush, to which Watt had already contributed a sack and forced fumble.

Never mind that the Steelers also lost nose tackle Tyson Alualu to a fractured ankle during the team’s first defensive series of the game, which forced Pittsburgh to dig deep into its interior defensive line depth during the contest.

Nose Tackle Tyson Alualu Had Ankle Surgery

Speaking of Alualu, the 12-year veteran underwent surgery on Monday to repair his broken ankle. The 34-year-old went on to post a photo to Instagram, one showing him recovering in his hospital room. The photo is accompanied by a message promising that he will “bounce back as soon as (he) can.”

In the meantime, reports that the organization has placed Alualu on its Reserve/Injured list, where he joins Stephon Tuitt, Zach Banner, Anthony McFarland Jr., Joshua Dobbs and Demarcus Christmas.

With Alualu out of the lineup indefinitely, the team also promoted defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Mondeaux—a former undrafted free agent out of Oregon—appeared in 11 games for the Steelers in 2020, during which time he recorded five total tackles, two quarterback hits and a tackle for loss, this according to Pro Football Reference.

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Ex-Steelers Looking for Work

In other news, two former Steelers players had tryouts with NFL teams early this week. For one, linebacker Tuzar Skipper worked out for the Green Bay Packers, this according to veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson. Also per Wilson, former Steelers seventh-round draft pick Derwin Gray worked out of the Indianapolis Colts.

Skipper tried to catch on with both the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons this summer, but failed to stick with either club. For his part, Gray has been with both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Titans this year, but has not been able to retain a job.

Also on Monday, former Steelers safety Sean Davis reverted back to the practice squad of the Cincinnati Bengals after he played 10 special teams snaps during his team’s 20-17 loss to Chicago this past weekend. Davis may have an opportunity to go against his old teammates when the Bengals visit Heinz Field this Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET. Pittsburgh’s offense will almost certainly have to contend with former Steelers slot cornerback Mike Hilton, who signed a four-year contract with Cincinnati in March.

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