Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Decastro Situation Muddles Roster

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Decastro Situation Muddles Roster

Article excerpt

The knee injury to rookie guard David DeCastro is not as serious as first believed and it is possible he could return at some point this season. But it has made a tricky situation just a bit more precarious for the Steelers.

That's because DeCastro, the team's No. 1 pick, is the latest in a line of injured players who will impact the decisions made on the 53-man roster.

The Steelers have to cut their roster to 53 players on Friday or at any point after tonight's final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field. But they have several injured starters they will have to carry on the roster who won't be able to play for a couple more weeks -- or even longer.

DeCastro is one, or could be, pending the results of the surgery he had Wednesday on his injured right knee. (The Steelers did not release any update on the surgery.) Another is running back Rashard Mendenhall, who is coming off surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and is still waiting to practice.

Then there is inside linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, the top backup to Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons, He will be out two more weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament.

The situation gained a little more clarity Tuesday when Pro Bowl outside linebacker James Harrison (knee) and top backup Jason Worilds (wrist) were taken off the physically-unable-to-perform list. Both players are scheduled to return to practice Monday for the first time since the spring and, barring any setback, should play in the season opener in Denver.

And that doesn't even include nose tackle Casey Hampton, who hasn't played in a game since having ACL surgery in January. Hampton could play tonight. The team gets a roster exemption for tight end Weslye Saunders, who will serve a four-week suspension to begin the season for violating the league's banned substance policy.

"There's always a problem getting to that 53," coach Mike Tomlin said. "That is the challenge that is the National Football League. We understand it and embrace it, and I think our guys do as well."

It is possible the Steelers could elect to put DeCastro on injured reserve, ending his season. But, by carrying at least two players who will not play for a while, the Steelers might have to keep fewer players than usual at other positions. …

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