In NFL Week 4, the Steelers lost badly to the Texans, 30 to 6, but the biggest blow was losing quarterback Kenny Pickett to a knee injury in the second half of the game.
In the final moments of the third quarter, Pickett was stopped on a fourth-and-1 play. Pickett fell back to pass, but the Texans put pressure on him right away.
In the end, Jonathan Greenard brought him down on the play, but the sack caused Pickett to twist awkwardly. After the whistle, he stayed on the field, but with some help from the Pittsburgh coaching staff, he was eventually able to leave.
Pickett’s status going forward was questioned after he was declared out of the game shortly after.
POWER RANKINGS: The Steelers (2-2) are among the top teams in the NFL.
What is the severity of Kenny Pickett’s injury, and can he play in Week 5? In advance of the Steelers’ Week 5 matchup with the Ravens, here are some things to know about the quarterback’s knee.
Update on Kenny Pickett’s injury
Although Pickett’s injury appeared serious at first, it seems that he was spared a serious knee problem. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Pickett is also dealing with a strained muscle and a bone bruise in his knee.
The good news is that it doesn’t seem like the sack caused any ligament damage to Pickett’s knee. But as Stephania Bell of ESPN explained in a 2015 article, “bone bruises aren’t insignificant” and they can last up to a month.
“[Bone bruises] can be symptomatic for 3-4 weeks, but often take longer to completely resolve,” Bell told ESPN. “In order to avoid progression of the injury which could lead to arthritic changes in the joint, it’s important to eliminate swelling and restore normal range of motion and strength.”
Given that prognosis, many will be curious to see if Pickett can play in Week 5 and, if not, for what length of time.
NFL Week 5 Predictions: Straight up | Against the Spread
In Week 5, will Kenny Pickett be playing?
“The door is open” for Pickett to play in Week 5 against the Ravens, according to Rapoport, if he feels up to it. Having said that, he also claims that the Steelers will “be smart” and might decide to rest their second-year quarterback for the game.
Why is that a smart move? This is Pittsburgh’s last game before their Week 6 bye. Hence, rather than attempting to push Pickett back into action at a lower level of fitness, the Steelers could have him rest in Week 5 and get two complete weeks off.
Nevertheless, Mike Tomlin stated that Pickett will work out on Wednesday and that the team will start evaluating his condition after that.
“Obviously his comfort and functionality will be the guide tomorrow,” Tomlin stated, as reported by ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “As we push forward toward the game, the quality of his work will be [the] determining factor.”
Nevertheless, Pickett is confident that he can overcome the injury in time to participate in the important rivalry game.
Trubisky will start against the Ravens in Pickett’s absence. In his rookie campaign in Pittsburgh, the 29-year-old completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,252 yards, four touchdowns, and five interceptions while going 2-3 as a starter.
Nevertheless, Trubisky has a 31-24 record while starting, and his versatility (297 rushing yards and three rush touchdowns per season) may enable him to mount a formidable defense against the Ravens.
Rudolph, who has played the first month of the season as the team’s backup quarterback, is behind Pickett and Trubisky. Since joining Pittsburgh in 2019, Rudolph, 28, has made 10 starts and is 5-4-1. He has completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 2,366 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
Therefore, even with Pickett’s temporary absence, the Steelers have the seasoned talent they need to win. However, the ceiling of the Pittsburgh offense won’t be as high as many had assumed it would be coming into the season if he misses more time than anticipated.