Kugler Says DeCastro Faces Long Comeback But Thinks He Will Be Back This Year

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.

  • RyanW

    I’d rather keep Lee than Essex or Beachum

  • dgh57

    I agree 100 times over!! Lee has looked good and Essex and Beachum have not!! Never have liked Beachum from the get-go!

  • Shannon Stephenson

    What about John Malecki? He almost made the team last year.

  • SBSteelers

    How long does DeCastro have to keep off the knee? He won’t be able to ride a stationary bike for a while (how many weeks are in “a while”, I don’t know). If it is a full 3 month recovery, he’ll have to get back into football shape. That brings the team to Dec 2nd – at Baltimore. Figure another month to get into football shape assuming he has the ability to get into a good non-football fitness beforehand and he is allowed to take the practice field. That means January 2nd – week 18 and the regular season has just finished. IF all this is true, and DeCastro doesn’t do anything to risk his career like trying to come back too soon, the timetable is now the first playoff game if the Steelers get that far. So let’s assume they do because they almost always seem to find a way to get into the playoffs.

    If all these things are true, then DeCastro is an inch away from being IR’d. It could be after surgery depending upon the surgical report. How bad was the tear? Full tear, partial tear? What does the meniscus look like? Any damage there that needed repaired? Fat pad, bursa, other ligaments such as the ACL, PCL, and LCL – were they damaged and/or in need of repair? How much scar tissue? Cartilage damage? And so forth.

    I think a lot of us were counting our DeCastro chickens before they hatched, myself included. Perhaps when one door closes another will open for a spectacular showing by some unsigned free agent? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. First up is the post surgery report. Here’s hoping DeCastro gets the proverbial artist as his surgeon and the Steelers get that second opened door (not even Bum Phillips could kick it in).

  • SteelSpine

    That math adding up is my thoughts too for best-case scenerio of when DeCastro could be ready to play, when add up the timetable even for best-case scenerio, regular season would be over then would need time for DeCastro to practice with our line. Thats why the only reason not-putting him on IR now makes sense is because we dont need to yet, because of the plenty of scrubs on the roster that can be cut first. Then when we’ll get down to 53, & of slight consolation to that time is that’s like we are allowed to have a 54-man roster because the brass knows they can cut Charlie Batch because he wont go anywhere (I dont like treating Charlie that way but he’s been thru that before so he’s maybe mentally-ok with it.) (Til Goodell catches on to our 54-man roster, heheh). Then during regular season as soon as there is a key injury somewhere or other reason they need to bring someone onto the 53, I expect that’s when Steelers will put DeCastro on IR.

  • SteelSpine

    I have that same question. Because Malecki has a year under his belt (unlike Lee etc) & Wolfley/Ilkin said he had a great camp this year, I wish I knew if Malecki has been working at RG & if so is he strong enough or good at it yet.