Romeus could return in 4-6 weeks
@byline-name:By John Grupp
@body-text:Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said he expects All-Big East defensive end Greg Romeus to return during the regular season, possibly as soon as four to six weeks.
Romeus, a pre-season All-America and the Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year, will undergo surgery Thursday on a disc in his lower back.
Wannstedt said he coached a pair of NFL players who underwent similar surgery and they were back in the lineup in “four to six weeks.”
Asked whether he expects Romeus back in time for the regular season or a bowl game, the Pitt coach said, “Regular season.”
“Charles Haley had (back surgery) before the Super Bowl,” Wannstedt said. “When I was with the Dolphins, Darryl Gardener had one during the season and came back and finished out the season. I have been involved with players, in fact all defensive linemen, who have had surgery and have gotten back and finished out the season.
“They were (out) four to six weeks.”
Added Wannstedt, “The plan is it’s not a season-ending surgery. How many games he will get back for, we will just have to take that week to week. But I am very confident when Greg gets back, he will be playing at a high level and finish up a great senior year.”
Wannstedt said highly touted freshman T.J. Clemmings, a potential redshirt, will help fill the loss at defensive end.
Also, middle linebacker Dan Mason was demoted to second team after being in the same car as running back Jason Douglas during a hit-and-run early Sunday on the South Side.
Max Gruder will start at middle linebacker and Tristan Roberts and Greg Williams will start at outside linebacker against Miami on Sept. 23.
Douglas, 19, who was driving, was charged with causing an accident resulting in serious injury, aggravated assault, DUI and underage drinking. Mason was a passenger in the car, but wasn’t charged.
Wannstedt met with Mason and his family Wednesday morning.
“This is for his good,” Wannstedt said. “He needs to prove to me that he can do the right things and be accountable off the field, in the classroom and on the football field. When he does that, he will get his job back.”
Douglas, a third-string freshman running back from Opa-locka, Fla., was suspended indefinitely from all team activities. He has a hearing scheduled for Thursday.
“The likelihood of his returning to this team is seriously in jeopardy,” Wannstedt said.