The Steelers won a wild game in Cincinnati on Sunday, but it came at a price.
Pittsburgh lost defending Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt and star running back Najib Harris in the closing stages of Sunday’s win over the Bengals. How long they’ll be away remains to be seen — and could significantly affect the trajectory of the 1-0 Steelers in 2022.
Watt’s chest injury could be serious enough to end his regular season if it were torn. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday on NFL Now that if it turns out to be a pectoral strain, it may also only require a few weeks of rest and recovery.
Watt will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury, and since Watt will seek a second opinion, a definitive diagnosis may not be made until Tuesday, according to Rapoport.
“The reason — that’s my understanding of the current situation — is that Watt and the Steelers are still trying to figure out if he needs surgery, which would at least get him out of the game. The season is over, or he can recover and return in a few weeks,” Rapoport said on NFL Network. “Both options are on the table. There’s a chance he won’t need immediate surgery, which is fine, meaning it’s more of a pectoral strain than a complete tear.”
Meanwhile, Harris could face a shorter road back to the game. According to Rapoport, the running back sprained Lisfranc during training camp and was able to return to the game in full health before the season began, but Sunday’s foot injury has the Steelers once again focusing on his foot. Lisfranc part.
As of now, the injury does not appear to be serious, but Harris did undergo an MRI of his foot on Monday. According to Rapoport, Harris needs more testing to determine if it’s just a slight deterioration in Lisfranc, or if there’s more damage going on.
Pittsburgh’s best-case scenario is simple: The second opinion brings better news to Watt, which means he just has a pectoral sprain, not a tear. In the same situation, the Steelers are hoping Harris’ injury is just an aggravation and he’ll just miss a little time.
Of course, the worst-case scenario would have forced Watt away for a long time and revealed something more serious about Harris. Pittsburgh wants the former, not the latter.