Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden is one step closer to getting back on the football field.
“Joe Haden is returning to practice this week,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “[We’ll] see what he does when he gets out there, if he can play Sunday.”
Haden fractured the fibula in his left leg roughly a month ago. While that sounds bad, the news quickly turned positive when it was shown that he wouldn’t be out for the entire year. The Steelers were always hoping to get him back to close out the season and march into the playoffs.
That said, they’re not sure how much he’s able to do right now. He’s just coming back to practice and they’ll work from there.
“Tomlin doesn’t know what Haden’s availability will look like,” Bouchette noted. “Going to do what’s appropriate both heatlh-wise and capability.”
If he can play, and play well, it would be a huge boost to the Steelers on Sunday. They play the New England Patriots at 4:25 p.m. ET. If they can win, they would knock the mighty Patriots all the way down to the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. That could help the Steelers tremendously in the postseason, meaning they’d likely get home-field advantage for the entire playoff run.
The Miami Dolphins just beat the Patriots on Monday Night Football. While that does show that they’re vulnerable, it could also mean they’re angry and looking to bounce back. If so, having Haden to slow down Tom Brady would be a huge boost and could keep the game from turning into a shootout for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wideout Antonio Brown and company.