After initially being listed as questionable to play, Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl outside linebacker T.J. Watt has been ruled out for Sunday’s clash at Heinz Field. He joins fellow Steelers defenders Stephon Tuitt (IR with knee injury), Tyson Alualu (IR with ankle injury) and Alex Highsmith (groin) who will be sidelined for this game, which is good news for Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals offense.
Today, head coach Zac Taylor announced that Tee Higgins, Xavier Su’a-Filo and Trae Waynes are doubtful to play this week. Taylor also confirmed rookie Jackson Carman will start at right guard if Su’a-Filo is inactive.
Trae Waynes, Tee Higgins and Xavier Su’a-Filo all will be doubtful according to Zac Taylor. Not ruling them out, but obviously not looking good.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) September 24, 2021
Zac confirms Carman gets first start at RG if X can’t go.— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) September 24, 2021
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said WR Tee Higgins' shoulder soreness, pain level will play into Sunday's availability. Will be checked tomorrow, as well. Taylor: "We’ll try to give him every second we can give him before he tells us one way or the other."— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) September 24, 2021
For reference, all Bengals who were listed as doubtful to play at any point during the 2020 season ended up not playing that week, so expect all three of Higgins, Waynes and Su’a-Filo to be inactive Sunday.
Higgins missed the last two days of practice with a shoulder injury before returning today. Because the Bengals have a quick turnaround next Thursday vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, it would be wise to keep him from playing two games in five days. Hopefully he’s active in Week 4 in what’s one of, if not the easiest game left on the Bengals’ schedule.
As for Waynes, he returned to practice yesterday, but like Higgins, having him play two games in five days is not a smart move, especially since Waynes has barely practiced at all since training camp due to multiple hamstring injuries.
As for the Steelers, today was an important one for the status of Ben Rothlisberger (pectoral) and T.J. Watt (groin), both of whom did not practice Wednesday and went limited Thursday.
Rothlisberger was able to practice fully Friday and is no longer on the injury report. Backups Marcus Allen (abdomen) and Justin Layne (Achilles) also fully practiced Friday and are good to go Sunday.
As for Watt, he got in a limited session and is questionable to play, so we should probably expect to see him active.
Not all news was good for Pittsburgh, as starters Alex Highsmith (groin) and Diontae Johnson (knee) were ruled out.
CB Mike Hilton a new addition the injury report but he's not listed with a game status so should be good to go.— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) September 24, 2021
Higgins, Su'a-Filo and Waynes all doubtful, as Zac said earlier.#Bengals pic.twitter.com/Y9EELN4rjS