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Early Camp Injuries Giving Huge Opportunities To Young Players

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp is in full swing and thankfully the team has not had to deal with any major injuries to this point. As we all collectively keep our fingers crossed after uttering that statement, I have not forgotten about the loss of Nik Embernate for the season. Losing undrafted rookie Nik Embernate to a season ending knee injury was disappointing however; the team is not crippled by that loss and hopefully Embernate will come back next year and show that potential we all hoped we’d see when the team signed him.

The team has however, had to deal with a multitude of minor injuries all over the roster.

Nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu, in some good news, was just activated from the PUP list this past Monday according to Steelers.com. Ta’amu had missed the start of training camp with a lingering hamstring injury which had put the already murky nose tackle position really in question. Steve McLendon is the unquestioned starter yet behind him, it’s anyone’s guess at this point. The team even had defensive end Al Woods practicing with the second team at nose tackle during mini camps this offseason. The time Ta’amu has missed has certainly put him behind and we will see if Hebron Fangupo took advantage of that opportunity.

The linebacker position has also been hit with the injury bug with Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons missing time the past week, with Timmons being of personal reasons. The backup inside linebacker position is completely up in the air and the injuries have given huge opportunities to guys like Marshall McFadden, Vince Williams, and Stevenson Sylvester. McFadden has gotten the most hype to this point and seems to be picking up where he left off after impressing last year in the Preseason as well. I honestly didn’t think Sylvester had a great chance at earning a roster spot going into camp but linebacker’s coach Keith Butler, while interviewing with David Todd of 970 ESPN Radio on Saturday August 4th, via Steelersdepot.com, that Sylvester “can be a good third for us right now.” Whether or not you believe that to really be the case is up in the air but it certainly looks like Sylvester has a great opportunity to earn a roster spot.

The position that has seemed to be hit the hardest by injuries early in camp by far is the cornerback position. Terry Hawthorne has missed all but the first two days of camp with a knee inury, Cortez Allen will probably miss the entire Preseason with his own knee injury, DeMarcus Van Dyke has been out most of camp with a hamstring injury and Curtis Brown is the most recent with an ankle injury. That has left the team to sign corners Ryan Steed and Buddy Jackson to the roster to compensate for the camp bodies lost. The most disappointing of these injuries is Terry Hawthorne and Curtis Brown as we all were excited to see what Hawthorne would look like and if Brown would finally step up. The big winners in this situation are Josh Victorian and Isaiah Green as they should be getting a lot of valuable reps with everyone out.

The good thing about all the minor injuries is the fact that it is still early. The team hasn’t even played a Preseason game yet and all these players have the time to come back and earn spots.

All injury information gotten from Steelersdepot.com.

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