Hodges starting, McDonald in, Nelson questionable vs. Chargers


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Devlin Hodges high-fives Diontae Johnson. – MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Vance McDonald is back.

But Steven Nelson likely takes his place on the sidelines.

Such is life for the Steelers in 2019. One positive comes with a negative, and the full squad just can't seem to come together with all its best assets on the field at the same time in this rollercoaster, 1-4, 2019 season.

Friday at the Rooney Complex, McDonald participated in full, a welcome sign as he continues to come back from a shoulder injury sustained in the team's Week 3 loss against the 49ers. McDonald missed Week 4 then caught three passes for 34 yards against the Ravens before re-aggravating the injury and being limited throughout the week of practice.

Now, however, McDonald is all clear per the team's official injury report, and he'll figure to enjoy his normal role in the offense against the Chargers on Sunday in Los Angeles.

The good news ends there for Steelers fans, however, as Nelson will likely be replaced in the starting lineup by Artie Burns. Nelson suffered a groin injury and was limited in practice throughout the week, including during Friday's practice in which Burns took first-team reps.

As expected, Devlin Hodges will get the nod at starting quarterback, as Mason Rudolph remained limited Friday as he works back from a concussion sustained in the team's 26-23 overtime loss against the Ravens. In a concurrent move, Paxton Lynch was elevated from the practice squad to the 53-man roster to serve as a backup on Sunday, as the team has already declared Rudolph out.

The team also promoted Trey Edmunds to third-string running back, as Jaylen Samuels is expected to miss about a month as he recovers from a knee injury. To make room for Lynch and Edmunds, the team has released Jayrone Elliott and Fred Johnson.

Wrapping up the Steelers injuries ahead of Week 6:

  • Maurkice Pouncey (not injury related), Anthony Chickillo (foot), Mike Hilton (foot), Justin Layne (illness) and Ramon Foster (not injury related) all missed time throughout the week but were full participants Friday. They're good to go.
  • Roosevelt Nix (knee) did not participate Friday and will miss his fifth straight game. He is officially out.
  • Mark Barron is out with a hamstring injury.
  • James Washington is out with a shoulder injury and is expected to miss a couple weeks.

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