Pittsburgh Steelers rookie defensive end Nick Williams was placed on injured reserve this past week with an injured knee, and now we know the extent of his injury.
According to David Todd of ESPN 970 Radio, Williams, the Steelers seventh-round draft pick back in April, suffered a subluxation of his left knee cap in practice prior to the Saturday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Williams told Todd that he didn't have any ligament damage, and that they're waiting for the swelling to go down before determining the next course of action with him.
Williams, who defensive line coach John Mitchell said was a project player following his selection back in April, was likely headed to the practice squad had he remained healthy, but now will of course be lost for the season. Despite not being able to practice with the team for the remainder of the season, the Samford product will be allowed to continue his learning in the position meetings as he works to have himself ready for the OTA practices next year.
Due to a previous knee injury suffered during training camp, Williams only saw 22 snaps of playing time at right defensive end in the Steelers second preseason game against the Washington Redskins.
It's unfortunate that Williams will lose his whole rookie season, but there's still hope that Mitchell can eventually turn him into a 3-4 defensive end. He should have a better grasp of the position next spring, and hopefully he can at least serve as a backup in 2014.