Pittsburgh is faced with some new adversity following Week 1's disappointing home loss to the 49ers.
Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward is expected to miss multiple weeks due to a groin injury he suffered on Sunday, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported Monday, per sources.
Heyward is likely headed to injured reserve as he weighs his options, which include having surgery, per Rapoport and Garafolo. A short-term trip to IR would mean Heyward misses at least four games.
The veteran DL attempted to re-enter Sunday's defeat but exited after one play before he was ruled out for the rest of the game. Heyward had one QB hit and zero tackles in the first half before leaving the game for good.
San Francisco took advantage of Heyward's absence by focusing on its rushing attack through Christian McCaffrey, who had a 65-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and ended the day with 152 yards on 6.9 yards per carry.
The loss of Heyward is a brutal blow for a team already dealing with a wake-up call entering Week 2.
Heyward has made six straight Pro Bowls entering 2023 and is coming off consecutive 10-plus sack seasons. The 34-year-old's run-stuffing ability along the D-line often go underappreciated and the focus of his presence from opposing teams has aided T.J. Watt's meteoric rise as an elite pass rusher in recent years.
Watt had a big injury following Week 1 this time last year for the Steelers, so Tomlin's squad certainly is familiar with adversity. But it won't make life easier going forward with Pittsburgh's stalwart missing along the defensive line.
The Steelers (0-1) host the Cleveland Browns (1-0) on Sept. 18.