The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is set to receive a massive boost for Week 10 against the New Orleans Saints with the return of All-Pro pass rusher TJ Watt, who hasn’t played since the season opener. However, Mike Tomlin’s secondary will also take a devastating hit. Star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has been downgraded to out for Sunday’s contest due to appendicitis, per Ian Rapoport:

“Source: Steelers star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is expected to miss Sunday’s game because of appendicitis.”

It appears this problem reared its ugly head in the last 24 hours because Fitzpatrick wasn’t included on Pittsburgh’s final injury report. The 25-year-old is one of the most reliable defenders on this roster, registering 45 total tackles, 28 solo tackles, and three interceptions in 2022. He’s only missed one game thus far and that was due to a knee injury. Appendicitis is no joke though which means Fitzpatrick could miss more than just Sunday. It’s the same problem Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow dealt with, but it’s unclear which one was more serious.

Fitzpatrick had five tackles in the Steelers’ Week 8 loss to the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles and has always done a relatively good job of containing opposing wideouts. Pittsburgh is now 2-6 on the season and will be looking for a much-needed win in Week 10. Tre Norwood is likely to step in for Minkah Fitzpatrick until he’s ready to return, who has started just three games this year.

On a more positive note, let’s hope Watt can make his presence felt and provide the defense with an immediate boost.