Diontae Johnson is going to miss 'a few weeks' due to a hamstring injury

First Cam Heyward, now Diontae Johnson. The Steelers have some significant injuries to overcome.
Pittsburgh Steelers, Diontae Johnson
Pittsburgh Steelers, Diontae Johnson / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

This is not the start to the 2023 season that Pittsburgh Steelers fans were hoping for. After getting pummeled by the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, we quickly learned that Cameron Heyward was going to be missing significant time with a groin injury. Now we get more bad news that we all were dreading to hear.

On Tuesday morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is expected to be sidelined for multiple weeks with a hamstring injury that he suffered during the Week 1 loss.

Injury has certainly been added to the insult. If it wasn't bad enough that the Steelers were humiliated by the 49ers on their own turf in Week 1, now we are dealing with soft tissue injuries to a pair of very significant players in this organization.

Johnson's injury occurred on one of the biggest plays of the afternoon for the Steelers offense. After catching a dig route, Johnson turned upfield down the right sideline for a gain of 26 yards. However, near the end of his run, he pulled up lame before going to the ground and immediately clinched his hamstring.

Johnson was in noticeable pain, and we assumed that he was set to miss some action. Unfortunately, hamstring injuries can linger and setbacks can often occur if a player is rushed back to the field too quickly.

Steelers will turn to Calvin Austin with Diontae Johnson out

In his absence, the Steelers will to second-year receiver, Calvin Austin III, to fill the void. Austin was working in Johnson's role as the 'X' receiver following his departure from the game. While Austin flashed in his debut performance (he spent his entire rookie season on IR), many question his ability to play on the outside. Austin is only 5'7 3/4'' and 170 pounds.

This will be a real test for a Steelers offense that already struggled mightily even when one of their top receivers was on the field. Johnson wasn't efficient by any means in 2022, but his ability to create separation on each play is a valuable trait. He has been the most productive receiver in Pittsburgh for three straight years -- leading the team in receptions, targets, and receiving yards since 2020.

Now the Pittsburgh Steelers will be without Johnson for at least a few weeks and Cameron Heyward for as many as 8 games. These are two big blows to a team looking to get back on track. Mike Tomlin's team hosts the Browns on Monday Night Football, and the Steelers can't afford to fall two games behind Cleveland. This is going to be a huge test in Week 2.