Sammie Coates underwent surgery on two fingers in his left hand Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported. The procedure repaired fractures and tendon damage to the Steelers receiver’s ring and index fingers that had severely hindered him throughout the final three months of the season, according to Fowler.
“Just got out of surgery went great! #thankYouGod” Coates posted on his verified Twitter account.
Coates had previously indicated that surgery was likely after the season ended. He was the NFL’s top deep-threat receiver over the first month of the season with six catches of at least 40 yards in his first five games. No NFL player would end up with more than that over the full season – but Coates did not add to his total after suffering the injury to his fingers during a Week 5 win against the Jets.
After having 19 catches for 421 yards and two touchdowns over his first five games, Coates was held to two receptions for 14 yards over the regular season’s final 11 weeks. He was inactive for two December games because of a hamstring injury.
From an Oct. 16 loss at Miami (the week following his broken fingers) through a first-quarter drop during the AFC championship last week at New England, Coates had two catches for 14 yards on 19 targeted throws in 11-plus games (including playoffs). He finished the AFC championship with two receptions for 34 yards.
A third-round pick in 2015, the 6-foot-1, 212-pound Coates enters this third NFL season as one of the most gifted pieces of a Steelers’ receivers corps that has vast potential but many question marks: All Pro Antonio Brown is entering the final season of his contract and is due an extension, Martavis Bryant (year-long suspension) applied for reinstatement to the league last week, Darrius Heyward-Bey will turn 30 on Feb. 26, Demarcus Ayers had nine catches in four games (including playoffs) as a seventh-round pick rookie, Markus Wheaton is a pending unrestricted free agent and Eli Rogers enters his second season after a strong debut as the slot receiver.
It could ultimately play out any number of ways, pending the statuses of Brown, Bryant and oft-injured big-play tight end Ladarius Green. But in the majority of scenarios for the Steelers’ passing game next season, Coates has a significant role and will be counted on heavily.