Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt may not be out for all that long. According to a report from NFL Network, Watt has a chance to play in the Steelers’ Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the injury he suffered during the team’s Week 2 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders was not a serious one.
Watt was limited to just 16 snaps on Sunday against the Raiders before leaving the game with a groin issue. He managed to pick up four tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble during that time.
In Watt’s absence, Alex Highsmith saw his snap rate bumped up to 67 percent (from 54 percent in Week 1), while Melvin Ingram played 86 percent of snaps (64 percent in Week 1). In the event that Watt has to miss time, it’s likely that duo would act as the primary edge rushers for Pittsburgh.
The Steelers are already ailing elsewhere on defense after defensive tackle Tyson Alualu suffered a fractured ankle. He is expected to join fellow defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt on injured reserve. After allowing Bud Dupree to leave in free agency this offseason, the Steelers are now much thinner than usual up front.
Given the state of the team’s offense at the moment, sustaining any more injuries on defense could seriously hamper the team’s ability to win games in the near term. They’ll need to get Watt back on the field as soon as possible, though it’s also important to be mindful of long-term risk to both his season and career, given his importance to the team.
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