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PITTSBURGH (AP) — One star in, one star out for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.

The Steelers activated outside linebacker T.J. Watt off injured reserve on Saturday, clearing the way for him to return for Sunday’s visit from New Orleans.

Watt, the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, hasn’t played since tearing his left pectoral in a Week 1 win over Cincinnati. He underwent minor knee surgery during his stay on IR but returned to practice two weeks ago. On Friday, he said he’s ready to play.

The Steelers (2-6), struggled without Watt, dropping six of seven without the three-time All-Pro and generating just eight sacks. Pittsburgh had seven sacks against the Bengals with Watt in the lineup.

Pittsburgh ruled out safety Minkah Fitzpatrick for the game against the Saints (3-6) with an appendix issue.

Damontae Kazee, who was activated off injured reserve on Wednesday, could fill in for Fitzpatrick.

The Steelers also placed recently acquired cornerback William Jackson on injured reserve with a back injury. Jackson had back problems with Washington before being traded to Pittsburgh just before the Nov. 2 deadline.


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