The hits keep coming for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who fell to 5-5-1 on the season on Sunday following a blowout loss to the Bengals. On Monday, the team announced that it has placed star linebacker T.J. Watt on the reserve/COVID-19 list, leaving his availability for Week 13's showdown with the Baltimore Ravens in doubt.
If Watt is vaccinated, it is early enough in the week that he would still have a chance of playing in Pittsburgh's upcoming matchup. Under that circumstance, Watt would need to turn in two negative COVID tests separated by 24 hours. If he is unvaccinated, however, he would automatically be forced away from the team for 10 days, resulting in his absence from that contest.
Following Sunday's matchup with Baltimore, the Steelers do have a short week as they'll then travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Thursday to open up Week 14. If Watt isn't cleared in time for the game against the Ravens, it would be a tight turnaround for him to get clearance to travel with the team to Minneapolis, so this situation naturally is worth keeping a close eye on.
Watt had just returned to the Steelers in Week 12 after missing the team's previous contest against the Chargers due to a hip and knee injury. Against Cincinnati, Watt played 81% of the defensive snaps and finished with two tackles. Through nine games this season, the 27-year-old has 41 tackles, 12.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles.