Steelers will not put DeCastro on injured reserve
Barring any unforeseen complications from knee surgery scheduled for Wednesday, David DeCastro will not be placed on injured reserve as the Steelers are holding out hope that the rookie first-round pick will be ready to return for the second half of the season.
DeCastro reportedly suffered a torn medial collateral ligament, a dislocated kneecap and damage to his patellar tendon when his right leg buckled underneath him during the second series of Saturday's preseason game against Buffalo.
“Fortunately, he's not done for the year,” Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler told Trib Total Media. “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.)”
Kugler said he isn't sure when DeCastro will be healthy enough to return, but the Steelers are willing to go with an even more limited roster in the interim to afford DeCastro the opportunity to return this season.
The team removed running back Rashard Mendenhall for the physically unable to perform list Aug. 17, even though he likely won't be ready for game action until well into the regular season. Teams are permitted to carry 53 players on the roster, with Mendenhall and DeCastro counting against that number.
“I think David will be back this year, and he's intent on doing that; I know that,” Kugler said.
Dr. James Bradley will perform the surgery on DeCastro.
The time frame of recovery varies depending on the severity of the kneecap dislocation, according to orthopedic surgeon and the Director of Medical University of South Carolina Sports Medicine Dr. David Geier.
“What they are going to look at is the ligament on the inside of the knee that holds the kneecap in place,” Geier said. “He could've knocked off a piece of bone or cartilage when that kneecap came out of place.”
DeCastro was two weeks away from becoming just the fourth Steelers rookie offensive lineman to begin the season as a starter on the offensive line, joining Tom Ricketts (1989), Marvel Smith (2000) and Maurkice Pouncey (2010).
DeCastro had been running with the first team at right guard since the second week of training camp.
“He was really making unbelievable progress,” Kugler said. “I was comfortable with him being in there with the ones. He was going to be our starting right guard.”
The Steelers will move forward with Ramon Foster — a fourth-year player who has started 26 of the past 29 games (including playoffs) at guard.
“I trust Ramon more than anybody else,” Kugler said.
Still, there was a sense of deflation with the injury to DeCastro.
“The guy is injured and you feel sorry for him on a personal level, professionally,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
“We understand this is as much a part of the game as blocking and tackling, so we move on.”
DeCastro was seen walking out of the team facility on crutches and with a balky brace on his right knee. DeCastro said he attended a team meeting during the morning but refused any other comment.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.