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Steelers star linebacker T.J. Watt to miss Week 2 game against Patriots

Related: Mac Jones: ‘I definitely feel a lot better’ one day after suffering back injury

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The New England Patriots will not have to go up against one of the NFL’s most disruptive players on Sunday. Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt will miss the two teams’ game this week because of a pectoral injury, head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed.

“I can definitively say that T.J. won’t play this week, but I won’t make any commitments beyond that,” Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday.

A three-time All-Pro selection and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Watt suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh’s 23-20 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. Watt did walk off the field under his own power, but the 27-year-old eventually did not return to the game.

Initials fears that the injury might be season-ending have not been confirmed. Instead, Watt will not have to undergo surgery on his torn pectoral and might be back on the field as soon as late October.

Tomlin did not share any specifics about the injury or Watt’s recovery on Tuesday, but he did acknowledge that “we’re probably in a lot better place than we were after the game.”

Nonetheless, Watt will not be able to take the field against the Patriots this week. As a result, New England and its much-maligned offensive line will face an easier matchup this week; Watt tied an NFL record with 22.5 sacks last season and also notched one quarterback takedown before his injury on Sunday. Replacing a player of this caliber will be a challenge for the Steelers.

Pittsburgh’s injury woes extend beyond its star linebacker, though. Second-year running back Najee Harris is also a question mark after suffering a foot injury against Cincinnati.

Harris was later spotted with his left foot and lower left leg wrapped, but the early indication is that he will be able to take the field on Sunday. He said so himself on Tuesday morning, with Tomlin echoing the belief later that day.

“He appears to be in position, but he’s going to have to practice and prove his readiness,” the Steelers’ head coach said. “We’ll take him day by day and see where this leads us in terms of his participation, and the quality of participation.”

The Patriots, meanwhile, are also dealing with some high-profile injury questions this week.

Quarterback Mac Jones was evaluated after Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins because of back spasms, while safety Adrian Phillips left the game early with a rib injury. Tight end Jonnu Smith also appeared to be shaken up. Additionally, New England placed running back Ty Montgomery on injured reserve on Tuesday.