The 5-3-1 Pittsburgh Steelers will be without at least three recognizable names for the upcoming "Sunday Night Football" game at the 5-4 Los Angeles Chargers.
A fourth, Pittsburgh's offensive CEO, could also find himself watching that matchup from home.
Steelers ruled out linebacker T.J. Watt (hip/knee), cornerback Joe Haden (foot) and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 19, 2021
Fitzpatrick and Watt always seemed unlikely to suit up. The former reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of the midweek, while the latter suffered hip and knee injuries during last Sunday's 16-16 tie with the Detroit Lions.
As Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk noted, the status of Pittsburgh starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger remains up in the air. Roethlisberger self-reported COVID-19 symptoms last Saturday and missed the Detroit game after he tested positive for the coronavirus, and he hadn't cleared protocols as of Friday afternoon.
Roethlisberger could travel by himself if he doesn't make the team flight Saturday morning and be added to the active roster by 4 p.m. ET that afternoon, but he'll be deemed ineligible to play unless he produces two negative virus tests at least 24 hours apart and stays free of symptoms for 48 hours.
Backup Mason Rudolph will make his second straight start if Roethlisberger can't go. Rudolph completed 30-of-50 passes for 242 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the tie with the Lions.