Three Steelers starters might be looking toward surgery
Offensive tackle Max Starks and nose tackle Casey Hampton suffered significant knee injuries, and defensive end Brett Keisel injured his groin in the Steelers' playoff loss at Denver, coach Mike Tomlin said Monday.
All three players were evaluated to see whether the injuries will require surgery.
The injuries to Starks, Keisel and Hampton came on the heels of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Maurkice Pouncey's high-ankle sprains, along with injuries to linebacker LaMarr Woodley and a number of other players.
"Injuries are a part of the game," Tomlin said. "You aren't going to be so fortunate that you don't have to deal with them. We dealt with them to the best of our abilities."
The Steelers ended the year with nine players on injured reserve — not including Keisel, Hampton and Starks, who all would have been candidates had the team's season continued.
Tomlin said Pouncey's ankle may require offseason surgery, but said Roethlisberger's high-ankle sprain isn't likely to be fixed surgically.
Ward not finished yet
Refuting a report that he had likely played his last NFL game, wide receiver Hines Ward said he wants to come back for a 15th season.
"I have no plans on retiring right now," Ward wrote on his Facebook page yesterday. "I want to win another Superbowl (sic). I don't know where the media is getting this info from, but rest assured that when I decide to retire, you'll hear it from ME first."
Ward did not have any catches Sunday in Denver. He lost his starting job to Brown in November, but still became the eighth receiver in NFL history with 1,000 receptions or more.
Ward, who did not complain about his reduced role, is signed through 2012.
Tomlin said that if he had to do it again, he wouldn't have defended Denver quarterback Tim Tebow any differently.
"Probably, the responsibilities associated with defending their run gaps kind of dictated at times how you attack them," Tomlin said. "Obviously they made some nice plays on us, and in hindsight you would analyze with a fine-tooth comb some of the things you did, but I think your options are limited in terms of how you attack them because of run-gap responsibilities."
Tebow completed only 10 passes but threw for 316 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He connected on five completions of 30 yards or longer. Coming into the game, the Steelers gave up seven this season.
Tomlin said he expects offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to return.
"I anticipate it, but of course we all understand what the end of the season is about, and movement is a part of it in today's NFL for players and coaches," Tomlin said. "We are going to try to maintain continuity like we always do."
Run cut short
Count Troy Polamalu among those that thought the Steelers were capable of a long postseason run.
"I've been on a lot of really good teams, and I felt that this team was up there with them," the All-Pro safety said. "We weren't really able to stay healthy, keep cohesiveness out there like we wanted to."
Before losing Keisel and Hampton to knee injuries, the Steelers already were without starting free safety Ryan Clark because of a medical condition. Woodley rotated with Jason Worilds because of a hamstring injury that caused him to miss six of the Steelers' final eight regular-season games.
Question about age - seven of the defensive starters are at least 30 years old - will replace ones about how injuries conspired against the Steelers. But Polamalu said he sees anything but a team in decline.
"We're very talented," he said. "We've got a lot of young guys, we've got a good mix of experience."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
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.
- Game changers: Turnover leads to elusive TD for Steelers
- Offense awakens to lead Steelers past Panthers
- Steelers notebook: Rooney says owners support Goodell
- Robinson: Study shows NFL troublemakers don’t get hurt in wallet
- Starkey: Can Steelers’ Mitchell find Carolina cure?
- Steelers defense a long way from ‘greatest of all time’
- Steelers notebook: Panthers LB Kuechly making an impression
- Value of nickel rising in NFL
- Steelers’ Brown combats disruptive defensive ploys
- Play to watch: Inside zone read slant/bubble
- Steelers’ Polamalu relying on smarts as physical skills decline