As final confirmation after being left off the Pittsburgh Steelers final Friday injury report, the Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac reports FS Minkah Fitzpatrick will play and start today against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Fitzpatrick underwent an emergency appendectomy eight days ago but will miss only one game, the team’s Week 10 win over the New Orleans Saints. After sitting out Wednesday’s practice, he practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and wasn’t given an injury designation on the team’s Friday injury report. Now, he will start in today’s critical game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport adds more color to Fitzpatrick’s quick recovery, explaining why he returned so soon.
Typically, players miss at least two weeks after an appendectomy. But Fitzpatrick’s quick alert to doctors ended up being the best decision he could make and allows him to return to the lineup almost immediately.
Pittsburgh will need a strong showing from its defense today. Still underdogs against the 5-4 Bengals, the Steelers will need to create splash plays similar to Week One if they want to pull off the season sweep. A win today would put the team at 4-6 and reopen playoff conversations previously dead. But a loss would drop the team to 3-7, a hole too deep to climb out of.
Damontae Kazee replaced Fitzpatrick last week and will shift into a backup role. The team could use its “big nickel” three-safety package to get Kazee on the field.