Tuesday was an off day for the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers, but Steelers coach Mike Tomlin provided an update on his injury situation. Officially, the teams don't have to submit a report until Wednesday.
Steelers DE Aaron Smith, who hasn't practiced since tearing his triceps Oct. 24, will return to practice this week on a limited basis. Tomlin was non-committal on whether Smith would be ready to play, but he hinted it could be on a part-time basis.
"Snap count is probably going to be part of that discussion," Tomlin said, but that "it would be nice to add that tool to the toolbox."
Tomlin said the Steelers are in "great shape" with regard to their other injured players. CB Bryant McFadden (abdominal strain) and special teamer Will Allen (sprained knee) will be limited in practice. McFadden bears watching, as he left last week's divisional game for the final two quarters. If he can't go, he'll be replaced by William Gay. That would make their nickel package stretched thin.
Starting offensive tackles, LT Jonathan Scott and RT Flozell Adams, both of whom left last week's game, are OK and will be ready to go, according to Tomlin.
The Jets' key injury is WR/KR Brad Smith (groin), who didn't play Sunday against the Patriots. In the last meeting against the Steelers, Smith returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. The Steelers' coverage units are shaky, to be kind, making it almost imperative that the Jets make at least one big play on special teams.
On Monday, Rex Ryan was cagey about Smith. We should know more Wednesday after practice.