Steelers’ Tomlin rules RT Banner out vs. Broncos

NFL

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without at least one starter against the Denver Broncos.

Though right tackle Zach Banner is still undergoing tests on a knee injury, coach Mike Tomlin ruled him out for at least the upcoming game.

According to a report from NFL Network, Banner’s initial diagnosis is a torn ACL, but it has to be confirmed by an MRI. After an offseason in which he dropped weight, ate healthier and went on a training camp social media hiatus, Banner won the starting job over Chuks Okorafor.

“It can be a cold game, but it’s a lot like life,” Tomlin said of Banner’s injury. “We’re not defined by what happens to us, we’re defined by how we respond to it. … We talk openly about that. It’s not that he got injured after all he’s been through and the fight that he’s been through to get where he is, it’s about what he does moving forward in response to it.

“He’s a competitor. He’s a professional. And I expect him to smile in the face of adversity.”

While Banner is out for at least the near future, Tomlin is more optimistic about the other pair of Steelers — running back James Conner and guard Stefen Wisniewski — injured during Monday night’s 26-16 win against the Giants.

“We’re still in the process of getting scans on [Wisniewski] and James Conner,” Tomlin said. “But I think their forecast is a more favorable one, so we’ll leave the light on for those two.”

Though Conner was initially feared to have sprained his ankle early in the game, he avoided a high ankle sprain, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, adding that the third-year back is expected to get more clarity this week.

The Steelers are also waiting on further tests on Wisniewski, who exited a play before Banner’s injury with a pectoral injury.

The Steelers line is already in a tenuous position because Wisniewski was a replacement for injured veteran David DeCastro, who has been out for more than two weeks with a knee injury aggravated in a training camp scrimmage.

Rookie Kevin Dotson replaced Wisniewski in the fourth quarter Monday night, and Okorafor took over for Banner.

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