LB’s Back Issue Highlights Steelers Injury Report


Streeter Lecka/Getty Images Ulysees Gilbert #54 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles Reggie Bonnafon #39 of the Carolina Panthers during their preseason game on August 29, 2019.

On Thursday afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers issued the second of three injury/participation reports in advance of Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.

For the most part, Thursday’s report reflected positive developments in terms of health, as only three players missed practice in its entirety. (This as compared to the eight players who were held out a day earlier.) One bit of good news was the return of slot cornerback Mike Hilton, who was a limited participant on Thursday.

Ulysees Gilbert’s Back Issue

But the addition of linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III to the injury report is a concerning development, because it was fractured verterba in his lower back that plagued him during his rookie season (2019), and ultimately landed him on injured reserve. In fact, Gilbert has had back issues “on and off since college,” as he once put it.

Seeing how Gilbert replaced Robert Spillane on obvious passing downs during the Titans game, that’s an indication that the Steelers view him as one of the players who can help make up for the loss of Devin Bush to season-ending ACL surgery.

Derek Watt, Jordan Dangerfield and Chris Wormley

As for the other not-so-good news from the latest injury report, fullback Derek Watt was a limited participant in practice on Thursday, this after being a full participant on Wednesday. Watt has had a hard time getting over his hamstring injury, having already experienced at least one setback, one which caused him to miss the Titans game.

Meanwhile, safety Jordan Dangerfield (quadricep) and defensive tackle Chris Wormley (knee) both missed practice for the second day in a row with injuries suffered vs. the Titans. Wormley had an MRI on Tuesday, but the Steelers have not made the results public.

Baltimore Ravens Injury Update

Down in Baltimore, the Ravens’ leading running back, Mark Ingram II, missed practice for a second day in a row with the ankle injury he suffered in Baltimore’s previous game, a 30-28 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on October 18.

Meanwhile, cornerback Jimmy Smith did not practice on Thursday after being a limited participant on Wednesday with an Achilles issue.

On the other hand, cornerback Marlon Humphrey did return to practice on Thursday after having been sidelined with an unspecified illness. Humphrey has been a big-time playmaker for the Ravens all season, recording 35 tackles (29 solo), as well as five passes defensed, 2.5 sacks, one interception and four forced fumbles.

It remains to be seen whether wide receiver Dez Bryant, 31, will be activated for the game against the Steelers. Earlier this week the Ravens signed Bryant to the team’s practice squad, and he has reportedly been playing the role of Chase Claypool for Baltimore’s scout team.

Bryant hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2017. A former first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys (2010, 24th overall), Bryant has 531 career catches for 7,459 yards with 73 receiving touchdowns. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2013, 2014 and 2016 and was first-team All-Pro in 2014. That year he had 88 receptions for 1,320 yards and 16 TDs.

Sunday’s game between the Steelers and Ravens was originally slated for Week 7 but was re-scheduled for Week 8 in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak among Tennessee Titans players and coaches.

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