While we don\’t know for sure if undrafted guard Nik Embernate will be lost for the season due to the knee injury he suffered during one-on-one drills Thursday, it certainly doesn\’t look good for him. Head coach Mike Tomlin warned during his post-practice talk with the media that the injury could be significant.
Assuming the forthcoming MRI will reveal the worst, the Steelers will have a big decision to make in regard to the San Diego State product, who was a high priority signing following the draft.
Embernate is of course not eligible for the PUP list being as he has already practiced. The only way a team can get a player on injured reserve prior to the final cut down week is to waive him injured. Should the Steelers take that course of action with Embernate, he would revert back to their injured reserve list as long as he clears waivers. Should another team wish to claim Embernate, however, he must placed on their 90 man roster initially.
It\’s not like a lot of teams will be in the market for an injured undrafted free agent guard, but we did see the New England Patriots claim injured tight end Jake Ballard off waivers from the New York Giants a few years ago. The Patriots carried Ballard on their 90 man roster throughout training camp and placed him on their injured reserve right before the start of the 2012 season.
Assuming the Steelers want to keep Embernate as a prospect for 2014 without waiving him injured, they will have to do the same thing they did with running back Baron Batch a few years ago. When Batch went down with a torn knee ligament, the Steelers carried him on their 90 man roster until finally placing him on injured reserve right before the 2011 season started.