Steelers Rumors: T.J. Watt suffers heel injury in practice
T.J. Watt missed the Steelers' Thursday practice with a heel injury. He was on the field Wednesday, so we can assume he suffered the ailment in practice. There is no official game day designation for Watt, but it would appear the talented linebacker is at risk of missing his first game of the 2023 season.
It goes without saying that Watt's absence would have a profoundly negative impact on the Steelers' defense. He is arguably the best pass rusher in the AFC and a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate. In five games this season, Watt has accumulated 15 tackles, 15 QB hits, two forced fumbles, and a league-best eight sacks. He leads the NFL in sacks despite the early buy week.
In the event of Watt's absence, the Steelers will turn to Alex Highsmith, Nick Herbig, and Markus Golden at OLB. Another potential complication, however, is a quad injury that limited Herbig at Thursday's practice. Pittsburgh is in danger of running a very shallow linebacker group in Sunday's showdown with the Los Angeles Rams.
Pittsburgh has a strikingly poor point differential this season, despite the team's winning record. The Steelers' defense has helped them steal a few close games. Without Watt terrorizing quarterbacks, it will be much tougher for Pittsburgh to keep opposing offenses in check. The hope is that he can suit up despite the inevitable pain.