After beating the Vikings on Sunday, the Steelers realized that, in the process, a couple of their players were beaten up.
And so, when Pittsburgh returns from a bye week to play the Broncos in Denver on November 9, they could be missing a few guys.
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons and defensive end Travis Kirschke suffered fourth-quarter injuries against Minnesota, per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Timmons has a sprained ankle; he’d be replaced by Keyaron Fox, who sealed the win with a “look what I found” interception that he returned more than 75 yards for a touchdown.
Kirschke is one of the committee replacements for Aaron Smith, who’s out for the year with a shoulder injury. If Kirschke can’t go, Nick Eason and Ziggy Hood would be asked to handle the duties at left defensive end.
But the bigger concern arises not from acute physical injuries but safety Ryan Clark’s chronic medical condition. The last time he played at Denver, his blood cells sickled in the high altitude, they attacked his organs, and Clark’s spleen and gall bladder were removed.
Amazingly, Clark is thinking about playing.
“I don’t know yet,” Clark recently said as to whether he’ll play, per the Denver Post. “I’ve been checking, we’ve been doing our due diligence on it. Through the offseason and up until now. I don’t think it’s a decision you can make in a week or two. It is something you have to feel confident you can do.
“Any kind of test where they can look at your insides, they’ve run it on me. I think next if they can stick their head down my throat and look they’ll do it. And things look good, but it’s still a tough decision.”
Still, Clark plans to at least make the trip to Colorado.
“I can promise you I will be on the plane, either way, and we’ll just figure it out from there,” Clark said.
If Clark can’t play, Tyrone Carter or Ryan Mundy would get the nod at free safety.