The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered another tough loss via injury to their defense on Wednesday night when Bud Dupree was lost for the season with a torn ACL. This is the second ACL injury to a high profile player the Steelers have suffered, the first being Devin Bush earlier in the season.
During his weekly press conference Thursday, Mike Tomlin confirmed Dupree’s knee injury and him being out for the rest of the season. He also mentioned those who are suffering from the typical “bumps and bruises associated with football” when talking about the team’s injuries after Week 12, but he specifically mentioned one player.
Tomlin stated cornerback Steven Nelson, who finished the game at Heinz Field Wednesday, was dealing with a knee injury which was serious enough for the organization to have Nelson have an MRI to see the significance of the injury.
The result of the MRI, or the potential significance of the injury, were not stated, but this would be a huge blow to the defense if they lose both Dupree and Nelson, even if Nelson’s injury isn’t the season-ending variety.
Keith Butler has had to deal with losing a key cornerback already this season, when he was without Mike Hilton for several weeks with a shoulder injury, but he hasn’t had to deal with losing an outside cornerback like Joe Haden or Nelson yet. If Nelson were lost for any amount of time it is likely second year cornerback Justin Layne would get the start on the outside, but the team has options. If they don’t like Layne as the primary outside cornerback filling in for Nelson, they could put Cam Sutton in that role and flex Sutton into his typical dime corner role when the team utilizes that sub package.
They have options, and will likely utilize all of them if they are without Nelson.
It should be noted this isn’t suggesting the injury to Nelson is serious, or that he is guaranteed to miss Monday’s game vs. the Washington Football Team in Week 13. All this is stating is the knee injury was concerning enough to get an MRI done to check on the potential severity of the injury.
The Steelers first practice will be Friday, and Nelson’s participation will ultimately dictate if he will be available for the team on Monday night. With that said, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the black and gold as they prepare for Washington in Week 13.
For a more complete recap of Mike Tomlin’s press conference, check out the Tomlin Press Conference Recap Podcast in the player below: