The Pittsburgh Steelers came out of Week 1 heavily wounded after their wideout Diontae Johnson and defensive tackle Cam Heyward picked up injuries in a 30-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. But while Johnson is expected to be back in action in a “few weeks,” Heyward will end up missing significant time.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport, Heyward underwent a groin surgery earlier this week and is now expected to miss at least eight weeks.
Losing Heyward for an extended amount of time is a tough blow for the Steelers. The veteran has been a steady presence on Pittsburgh’s defensive line and only missed two games since 2016. He made a Pro Bowl in each of his last three years while finishing the past two seasons with at least 10.0 sacks and 74 tackles.
Speaking about Hayward’s injury, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that it would take a team effort to replace such an important player. Tomlin will likely hope that the likes of Isaiah Loudermilk and DeMarvin Leal can step in and make a difference.
“Obviously, losing Cam is significant. But that’s what team is about,” said Tomlin. “Replacing Cam is not a one-man job. It is a multiple-man job and a coach’s job because it changes your schematics when you lose significant players. And so are we all acknowledged that, and we all run to that, not away from that. That’s an opportunity for us to show what team is about.”