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Mike Tomlin won't rule out Stephon Tuitt playing for Steelers this week vs. Vikings

Joe Rutter
| Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, 12:03 p.m.
Mike Tomlin speaks at his weekly news conference Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Mike Tomlin speaks at his weekly news conference Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.

In a surprising turn of events from the previous 48 hours, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday said defensive end Stephon Tuitt could return from a left biceps injury Sunday when the Steelers play the Minnesota Vikings at Heinz Field.

Once feared to be out for the season after lasting just two plays in the opener against the Cleveland Browns, Tuitt received a promising diagnosis from the MRI he had Monday.

Tomlin said the result was "optimistic" with a shorter-than-expected recovery time.

"Man, it's really positive compared to what it could be," he said.

Tomlin didn't discount Tuitt returning as soon as this weekend. Tuitt remained atop the depth chart that was released Tuesday morning.

"His short-term availability is in question," Tomlin said. "We'll go through the week and see what he looks like day-to-day. We'll see if he is functional, see if he has strength, see if it's safe. And if it is, we'll let him play."

The only other injury of note from the season opener was to safety J.J. Wilcox, acquired a week ago from Tampa Bay. Wilcox reported concussion-like symptoms Monday and is the concussion protocol, Tomlin said.

Wilcox was injured when he collided with Browns receiver Corey Coleman at the goal line on a touchdown reception. Wilcox, flagged on the play for unnecessary roughness, remained on the ground for several moments after his hit.

Tomlin said the availability of outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who missed the opener with a shoulder injury, will "unfold as we push through the week."

Dupree was a limited practice participant Thursday and did not practice Friday in advance of the opener.

"We're not at a juncture in the season where our guys can expect to go into the stadium and play at a winning level without practicing," Tomlin said.

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