PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Steelers corner Artie Burns and defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt both missed practice Thursday after suffering injuries in practice a day earlier.
But the two starters were hopeful that they will be available to practice Friday and play Sunday when the Steelers meet Jacksonville in the AFC divisional round.
“You hope it’s not the worst thing that could possibly happen,” Burns said of his hyperextended knee. “Luckily it was something small and I can just recover in a week and get back to the team on Sunday.”
After leaving practice with his right elbow in a sling Wednesday, Tuitt seemed optimistic.
“You know how you sometimes nick it, get like a little funny bone,” he asked. “We fixed it out and it’s great.”
The encouraging news was met with some unfortunate developments, as defensive lineman Javon Hargrave was added to the injury report with a back injury that caused him to sit out of practice.
The injuries are a bit perplexing, as the Steelers are coming off a bye week and seemed relatively healthy following the victory over Cleveland in week 17.
“It’s just coincidence,” Tuitt added. “You can’t help it. Everyone’s going hard. Everyone’s super excited. You’re running to the ball and things happen. You can’t control it. It’s football.”
Should Hargrave not be able to play in the rematch of the Steelers’ 30-9 loss to the Jaguars in October, Pittsburgh would be without its top tackler from that game, as Hargrave made ten stops.
“(Hargrave) will be a huge impact for us in this game,” Tuitt said. “They like to run the ball. The front seven will be really impactful in this game. We’re going to be able to see who can stop the run the most.”
Antonio Brown and reserve offensive lineman B.J. Finney were both able to fully participate in practice after being limited earlier in the week.