Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has updated his report from earlier on Monday that stated the Pittsburgh Steelers do not intend on placing rookie right guard David DeCastro on the season ending injured reserve list.
Monday after practice head coach Mike Tomlin announced that DeCastro would have surgery on his injured right knee on Wednesday. The first-round draft pick reportedly suffered a torn medial collateral ligament, a dislocated knee cap and damage to his patellar tendon during the Steelers second offensive series of Saturday’s preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.
Kaboly writes that barring any unforeseen complications with the surgery that the organization is holding out hope that DeCastro will be ready to return for the second half of the season.
Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler was quoted as saying that DeCastro is going to face a long comeback, but that he believes his rookie lineman will be back this season.
"Fortunately, he’s not done for the year," Kugler told the paper. "It is going to be a long comeback for him, but just the fact that it wasn’t something devastating that ended his year (is positive.)"
Evidently the biggest mystery as to the recovery time frame revolves around the dislocation of the knee cap, according to an orthopedic surgeon that Kaboly talked to.
With DeCastro now down, the Steelers will once again have no choice but to turn to Ramon Foster at right guard and Kugler thinks that he is once again up for the challenge.
“I trust Ramon more than anybody else,” Kugler said via Kaboly.
The Steelers will now of course need to keep at least one more lineman on the 53 man roster due to DeCastro being down and it figures to be veteran Trai Essex. Essex had a rough first two games of the preseason, but did seem to improve in the game against the Bills.
The only other option the Steelers really have, outside of plucking another lineman off waivers, is to keep rookie seventh round pick Kelvin Beachum if Essex is not their choice. Beachum has looked pretty rough during the preseason at both the left tackle and left guard positions and in all likelihood is heading for the practice squad. Due to injuries at linebacker, the Steelers will more than likely keep only 9 offensive linemen on the 53 man roster counting DeCastro as one of them.
Should the rehab of a DeCastro not go well or he has some sort of setback, the Steelers can always place him on injured reserve at any time and free up a roster spot.