PITTSBURGH — Steelers defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal is okay after an injury scare. He suffered an elbow injury against the 49ers that Mike Tomlin later revealed as a triceps injury. Leal would return to the game but continue to be limited throughout, with Isaiahh Loudermilk, Keeanu Benton, and Montravius Adams taking the snaps that he did not soak up in the absence of Cam Heyward.
Heyward is heading for groin surgery, and the team will miss his intangible and tangible qualities out on the field. However, it could have gone worse if Leal had suffered a more severe injury. Larry Ogunjobi is still dealing with a lingering foot injury that has caused him to be limited in practice.
“Oh yeah, triceps is good,” Leal said. “Just make sure I keep up with the treatment and make sure it’s 100% before the game. And just taking of myself and feel like I can contribute and take that role.”
For the defensive line, their game against the Browns will end up a critical game to decide how the team’s future will go without Heyward. Guys such as Benton, Adams, Loudermilk, Armon Watts, and others will be critical to step up with Heyward out. It is a tough blow for the Steelers to swallow for their All-Pro defensive lineman, who has been a bastion of health over his career. The groin injury is the first significant injury he has had in recent years, and now the load will go even more onto T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith to make things happen off the edge.
Breiden Fehoko is the top candidate to replace Heyward’s roster spot on the 53-man roster. If he goes on injured reserve, Heyward will be out through at least the Steelers’ bye week, but it seems likelier that he will be out until November. If that occurs, Heyward’s likely return date would be November 12th against the Green Bay Packers.