The Steelers held on to win a wild one in Cincinnati on Sunday, but it came at a cost.
Pittsburgh lost both reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt and star running back Najee Harris in the latter stages of Sunday's victory over the Bengals. How long they're out remains to be seen -- and could significantly impact the trajectory of the 1-0 Steelers in 2022.
Watt suffered a pectoral injury that could be severe enough to possibly end his regular season if it is torn. It could also only require a few weeks of rest and rehabilitation if it ends up proving to be a pectoral strain, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday on NFL Now.
Watt is undergoing an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury, and because Watt is going to seek a second opinion, there may not be a firm diagnosis until Tuesday, per Rapoport.
"The reason why -- this is my understanding of the current situation -- is Watt and the Steelers are still trying to figure out does he need surgery, which would knock him out until at least the end of the season, or can he rehab and return in a couple of weeks," Rapoport said on NFL Network. "Both of those options are on the table. There is a possibility that he does not need surgery immediately, which would be great that would mean it's more of a pec strain than a full tear."
Harris, meanwhile, could face a shorter path back to the field. The running back suffered a Lisfranc sprain during training camp and was able to make it back to the field fully healthy before the start of the season, but a foot injury suffered Sunday has the Steelers again focusing on the Lisfranc portion of his foot, per Rapoport.
As of now, the injury doesn't appear to be major, but Harris did undergo an MRI on his foot Monday. More tests are ahead for Harris to determine if it is just a small aggravation of the Lisfranc, or if there is more to the injury, Rapoport reported.
The best-case scenario for Pittsburgh is simple: The second opinion produces better news for Watt, which would mean he merely suffered a pectoral sprain, not a tear. In the same scenario, the Steelers are hoping Harris' injury is merely an aggravation, and he'd only miss a little bit of time.
The worst case, of course, would force Watt out for an extended period and reveal something more serious for Harris. Pittsburgh is hoping for the former, not the latter.