Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb is out for the season and will need surgery following a nasty left knee injury after colliding with Keanu Neal, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. While that is terrible news, Holcomb got discharged from the hospital without a worst-case scenario injury, it appears. Holcomb, after he gets surgery, is expected to make a full recovery from his injury.
Following the game on Thursday night, head coach Mike Tomlin said the team knew it was severe. Players huddled around him as he was carted off following what could have been similar to the injury Nick Chubb suffered earlier this season.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him, man,” Tomlin said. “I’ll have an update I’m sure the next time we come together regarding the nature of that.”
Holcomb was chasing down Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the second quarter when teammate Keanu Neal tackled Hopkins and swung around his body. Neal’s left leg impacted Holcomb’s left leg right below Holcomb’s knee, buckling it backward.
Holcomb, 27, is a fifth-year linebacker out of North Carolina. He joined the Steelers this March on a three-year free-agent contract after spending his first four seasons in Washington.
Through seven games, Holcomb was second on the team with 52 tackles, and also had four tackles for loss, one quarterback hit, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and two passes defended.
Without Holcomb in the lineup, Kwon Alexander and Elandon Roberts, who have shared time at the other inside linebacker position, moved into a full-time role. Second-year man Mark Robinson is the only other inside linebacker on the active roster. Tariq Carpenter and Mykal Walker are on the practice squad.
But it will be a tough job replacing Holcomb, who became a solid free-agent acquisition for the Steelres. They have to find the right balance to keep what was a promising unit churning at a high level.