The 2013 regular season has been a disaster of sorts for the Pittsburgh Steelers on the “injury front.” It seems like a starter or a key backup has gone down on a weekly basis, and the “injury bug” continued to bite the Steelers during their 23-10 win over the Buffalo Bills earlier today.
Rookie Shamarko Thomas sustained a left ankle injury according to Alan Robinsonof the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review during the first half when he tried to make a tackle near the sidelines, and the former Syracuse star was lost for the rest of the game and was wearing a walking boot according to Ken Laird of Trib-LIVE Radio.
In addition to Thomas, outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley injured his left calf against the Bills too. According to David Todd of 970 ESPN, a pulled calf might even force Woodley to the sidelines for a game or two. Although Jarvis Jones showed some flashes of his talent off the edge against Buffalo and Jason Worilds has filled in for Woodley at the left outside linebacker position before, the loss of the veteran for any extended period would definitely hurt Pittsburgh’s pass-rush.
The biggest loss for Pittsburgh this afternoon happened when Ramon Foster exited with a right ankle injury. The starting left guard had to be helped to the sidelines by the training staff, and he was apparently wearing a walking boot after he was removed from the game according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Already dangerously thin in terms of depth along their offensive line, Foster’s absence would force Jack Bicknell, Jr. and Todd Haley to re-shuffle their offensive linemen once again in relatively quick fashion. Kelvin Beachum could slide over to left guard, but who would take his place at left tackle?
Pittsburgh could turn to veteran Guy Whimper, yet he struggled at guard during the preseason, against the Patriots, and could be needed to backup Marcus Gilbert at right tackle. Other than those options, Pittsburgh only has the inexperienced Cody Wallace and “practice squadder” Chris Hubbard at their disposal in case of emergencies at the guard spots.
Although the Steelers are 3-6 and essentially “out” of postseason contention, I earnestly hope that all three of these guys can return to the lineup as soon as possible down the stretch. The team needs a veteran presence and a strong run-blocker like Foster in the trenches, Woodley is leading the team in sacks, and Thomas is a valuable piece of the team’s nickel, dime, and quarter packages.
Of course, with the way that the 2013 campaign has panned out for Pittsburgh, expecting “good news” on the “injury front” is somewhat delusional at this point.
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