PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says he’s not sure how his left pectoral muscle will affect his play yet.
He says the injury happened early in the game against the Raiders and he hasn’t thrown a ball since Sunday’s loss.READ MORE: TJ Watt Named AFC Defensive Player Of The Week
“Today’s only Wednesday, so we have a lot of time to get ready to go,” he said.
He says he’ll do everything he can to be ready for Sunday’s game as the Steelers (1-1) prepare to host Cincinnati (1-1). He’s expected to play.
Roethlisberger, outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, wide receiver Diontae Johnson and cornerback Joe Haden and inside linebacker Devin Bush are among a growing list of players dealing with issues. Defensive lineman Tyson Alualu is now on injured reserve after undergoing surgery Monday on his fractured right ankle.
Watt, Highsmith, Bush and Haden are all dealing with groin injuries. Haden and Bush were both inactive on Sunday after testing the injuries during pregame. Watt sustained his injury in the second quarter and watched from the sideline in sweatpants as Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr lit the Steelers up for 263 yards and two touchdowns after halftime. Highsmith was on the field during the Raiders’ final drive.
On Tuesday, Tomlin did not rule any of them out for Cincinnati’s visit to Heinz Field. He sounded less optimistic about Johnson, who injured his knee at the end of a short gain on the game’s final snap.
“He’s looking better, but that’s not to be confused with great,” Tomlin said of Johnson, who leads the team with 14 receptions through two weeks.
Tomlin stressed all of the answers to his team’s injury problems are “in house,” indicating he doesn’t expect them to be long term while expressing confidence in his reserves and practice squad players.READ MORE: 'It Was An Embarrassment'; Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin Critical Of Officiating Following Win Over Seahawks
“I’m not necessarily worried about the injury in terms of our expectations or in terms of our performance,” Tomlin said. “We have a week to prepare with known issues. In-game injuries caused more problems than known issues like you’re faced with here at the top of the week.”
Pittsburgh has two rookies (left tackle Dan Moore and center Kendrick Green), a second-year player (left guard Kevin Dotson), a fourth-year player (right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor) and veteran right guard Trai Turner in front of Roethlisberger and rookie running back Najee Harris.
Harris has just 26 carries for 83 yards through two games and Roethlisberger has already been sacked four times, more than a quarter of the total he absorbed in 2020. Tomlin allowed Roethlisberger is getting hit too much, but preached patience as the line attempts to create some form of chemistry.
“It doesn’t happen in an instant,” he said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. We’re sensitive to that. But at the same time, there’s urgency because we got ballgames to win in the midst of all of this.”
The Steelers have won 14 of 16 against Cincinnati, though their last game versus the Bengals was a 27-17 road loss last December even with Cincinnati missing rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow will be available this time around, and Pittsburgh could be short-handed in several areas.
Not that it matters to Tomlin.
“Every man is working with great urgency,” he said. “And when I ring the bell, they better answer.”MORE NEWS: T.J. Watt Forces Fumble In Overtime, Steelers Edge Seahawks 23-20
(TM and © Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)