Steelers Injuries Have Been Frequent And Frustrating

By Jeremy Hritz

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had their fair share of injuries this training camp, but thankfully, the injuries of the severe variety have avoided key starters.

While teams like the Eagles, Packers, and Bears have lost key players to season ending injuries, the Steelers have been fortunate to avoid such bad luck to players in their starting line-up.

But that doesn’t mean the injuries haven’t impacted the Steelers in the 2013 version of Camp Tomlin.

The position that has been bonked the hardest by injuries has been cornerback, with the quartet of Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, DeMarcus Van Dyke, and Terry Hawthorne all missing time. Allen, who underwent a knee procedure to alleviate some discomfort, is expected to return for the season opener, but he is not getting the repetitions with his teammates on defense to make his transition to starter opposite Ike Taylor a smooth one. While all indications are that he is fine and will not be plagued long term, there is some uncertainty about how effective he will be when he does return, and how long it will take him to regain his pre-injury form.

Brown, who has not lived up to the expectations that were in place for him when he was drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft, had been having an uneven camp before he suffered an ankle injury. With no timetable on his return, the hope that Brown would benefit from extra reps as a result of the bum knee of Allen seems to have been dashed, and it is difficult to foresee his contributions this year going beyond special teams.

As far as Van Dyke is concerned, this was to be his first full training camp to fully grasp the Steelers defense, yet his hamstring injury has kept him out of practice since July 28th. Many, myself included, were anticipating to see what Van Dyke could contribute with an entire training camp to his credit, but now, still being held out of practice, the likelihood that he makes the team is seriously in question.

Regarding Hawthorne, his knee is still keeping him out of practice and is preventing the Steelers from learning exactly what he can bring to the team.

What it all adds up to is a position that is currently devoid of any depth.

But the injuries haven’t been limited to cornerback.

The offensive line has also suffered its share of injuries with undrafted rookie free agent, Nik Embernate, who was getting work with the second team at guard, being lost for the season, and most recently, Guy Whimper, who was carted off of the field with an unknown injury.

And this week, pass catchers took their turn, as Plaxico Burress was lost for the year with a torn rotator cuff, and it appears that tight end Matt Spaeth will miss eight to ten weeks with a Lisfranc injury. Spaeth’s loss will be felt more than Burress though, as the Steelers are already trying to compensate for the absence of Heath Miller.

While injuries are an unfortunate part of every football season, none of the injuries thus far for the Steelers have clipped a player that the team is depending on to help them make a run in 2013.

Hopefully it’s a trend that continues.

  • grw1960

    Got to really believe when the roster cut downs happen. the Steelers will be trying to claim the best players they can at multiple positions. TE , back ups at OL and possibly CB just being the most obvious.

  • Ahmad

    Not to downplay the injuries of the backups because they are human too, but the Steelers really have been blessed not to have any starters go down long term. As I keep saying there are a bunch of other teams in the league right now that would kill for our injury report so with that I’m taking what we have.

  • steeltown

    That’s what Ive been thinking… yes, the Spaeth and Burress injuries are bad and losing (prospect) Embernate as well.. but in all seriousness besides the Spaeth and C.Allen issues we are really in pretty good shape regarding our starters

    Just wish C.Allen and C.Brown were getting much needed reps and wish the rookie Hawthorne was as well

  • Nolrog

    I think we’re due for a year without a ton of injuries. We’ve had the opposite for too long now.

  • Brendon Glad

    I’m not a fan of that element (training) of Steelers football. I’m a die-hard…and I will defend ALMOST everything Steelers to the point right before punches thrown.
    Everything but TWO things:

    1)I refuse to defend Steelers Special-teams…they have never been excellent in my lifetime (spare me any conflicting stats, Special-teams stats are absolutely worthless)…the eyeball test says they’ve sucked 25-35 years of my fandom…and usually when the DO ANYTHING but SUCK…they win the AFC championship.

    2) I will not defend their strength/conditioning/training/medical. And I use, once again, the eyeball test. I went on a rant about this several weeks ago…and received many positive comments about it…but it was VERY long! So I’m not going to do it again.
    I’ll just shorten it…Sean Spence, Heath Miller, Ben Roethlisberger type injuries are “part of the risk of NFL football”.
    Pulled muscles, re-injuries of the same injuries, and clean-ups of knees that are ignored until training camp are RARELY part of the game, when it’s a good staff.

    So for the record, Burress, Nick E. (OL), and Spaeth, are “no ones fault”. I have severe issues with Hawthorne, Van Dyke, Allen, and Brown’s injuries, on the other hand. In particular Allen’s…is this a Harrison situation all over again where the Training/medical dropped the ball? They’ve done nothing to make me think otherwise.

    Very negative post by me…I’m sorry. I have my money on the Steelers to win the Super Bowl. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t call a spade “a spade”…when I see 2 weak-spades messing up a good hand. And in every year that they under-perform…you can trace it back to 1 or both of those 2 spades, almost without fail