As the Steelers prepare for an extremely fortunate opportunity to play in the postseason against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, they are still awaiting word on running back DeAngelo Williams.
Williams left the season finale in a protective walking boot with an ankle injury that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin later clarified as a foot issue.
"DeAngelo is being evaluated and getting treatment as we speak," Tomlin said Tuesday. "I just spoke with him probably about 10 minutes ago, he can be characterized as day to day. I don't know what his availability will be in terms of the game."
He added: "Meanwhile, I think it's prudent for us and appropriate for us to build our plan around Fitz and around Todman -- guys that have been here, guys that are healthy, guys that are willing and capable to be positive contributors to our effort."
The backs Tomlin is referring to, Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman, have a combined 22 reps on the season but could be leaned on heavily on Saturday. As NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport noted on Sunday, Williams' injury would have kept him out a few weeks during the regular season, but could be something Williams might try and gut through during the playoffs.
This could be the second time in as many years that Pittsburgh tries to survive without their lead back in the playoffs. The Steelers signed Ben Tate before a playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens in 2015 after Le'Veon Bell went down.
This year, the injury to Williams is not as severe. And Tomlin hopes to ride with the platoon he's got.
Here are the other injuries we're monitoring Tuesday:
- Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says running back Chris Johnson (knee) has been cleared and will return to practice next week. He will be eligible to return if the Cardinals reach the Super Bowl.
- Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is out of his thumb cast, Rapoport reported. Coach Marvin Lewis told the media that "we'll see (if) Andy continues to progress well."
However, he added the Bengals' plans haven't changed. "We are preparing with AJ McCarron to be the starting quarterback," Lewis added. "It's not going to change later in the week. We're preparing AJ McCarron to be the starting quarterback whether Andy is a backup or where Andy is, we'll know down the line. Right now ... he'll be ready when's ready and he's been doing well."
- Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston will practice Tuesday in a limited fashion and is still listed as day to day, according to coach Andy Reid. Cornerback Dee Ford is still in the concussion protocol and won't practice Tuesday.
- Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles suffered a broken thumb on his non-throwing hand during Sunday's loss to the Texans.