Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review
If the perfect scenario would’ve played out, Steelers rookie first-round pick David DeCastro would’ve been eligible to be added to the 53-man roster Friday and play against the N.Y. Giants Sunday.
The perfect scenario didn’t happen, and actually, don’t expect to see DeCastro on the football field any time soon.
DeCastro reportedly suffered a torn medial collateral ligament, a dislocated kneecap and damage to his patellar tendon when his right leg buckled underneath him during the second series of the second preseason game against Buffalo.
DeCastro had surgery Aug. 29 and placed on injured reserve with the designation to return nine days later. Under the guidelines of the new injured reserve rule, DeCastro was eligible to start practicing with the team two weeks ago.
The Steelers were optimistic that DeCastro could return this year in August. That optimism has tempered.
“It is all on his timetable,” offensive line coach Sean Kugler told me last week. “He had a pretty significant knee injury …”
Kugler said in August that he expected DeCastro back at some point during the season. He didn’t sound as confident last week.
“If he has a chance to come back and play, he better be mentally prepared,” Kugler said.
DeCastro has been working out in the pool and riding the stationary bike to strengthen his knee, but hasn’t attempted any football-related activities yet.
And with the season already half over and Ramon Foster playing so well at right guard, the urgency for DeCastro’s return has waned.
However, Kugler has done a good job of keeping DeCastro involved in the day-to-day process of playing in the NFL.
“He is charting on the sidelines so that keeps him involved with every call,” Kugler said. “He is hearing every call and every personnel grouping from the sidelines. He is in every meeting. He is taking tests. He is doing everything that a player would do other than play in the game. It keeps him in it mentally and keeps him part of the group because sometimes when you are hurt, sometimes you feel like you are not part of anything. We want to make him feel important.”