Tuesday will mark the start of week 7 of the 2012 season and it also marks the open of the first window that allows Pittsburgh Steelers rookie right guard David DeCastro to begin practicing again whenever the team doctors clear him to do so.
DeCastro was placed on the injured reserve list with the new designated to return tag prior to the start of the season after he tore up his right knee in the Steelers third preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.
The new rule states that a player can begin practicing with the team 6 weeks from the date that he was placed on injured reserve, but it also stipulates that the player can\’t return to the active roster until 8 weeks has passed.
To clarify the rule more, a team has 21 days to place the player back on their 53 man roster, or on their season ending injury reserve list, once he begins practicing with the team. There is no deadline as to when that player must begin practicing as it all depends on when he is cleared by the team to do so.
Technically a player can spend the entire season on the list with the designated to return tag as long as he does not begin practicing with the team. Once he practices, that\’s when the 21 day window opens.
The news has been encouraging so far on DeCastro, who started back working on the bike a few weeks ago. The Stanford product reportedly had not started running at the time, but he was no longer walking with a limp and had been attending all of the meetings.
Hopefully Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will be asked Tuesday during his press conference to give a status update on DeCastro and when he expects the first round pick to begin practicing with the team again.