Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward is expected to miss two-to-three weeks as he recovers from a hamstring issue that forced him from yesterday’s game against the Jets, reports Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (Twitter link). However, Heyward is aiming to return ahead of that timeline, and would like to play before Pittsburgh’s Week 8 bye, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Meanwhile, linebacker Ryan Shazier is dealing with a sprained MCL and is also hoping to return to the field before Week 8, tweets Fowler.
Heyward, 27, had already incurred injuries earlier this year, as an ankle ailment limited him in early September. Still, through five games, Heyward had been one of the Steelers’ best defenders, posting three sacks and four passes defensed while grading as the league’s No. 19 interior defensive lineman, per Pro Football Focus. Heyward is signed through 2020 thanks to a 2015 extension that will pay him roughly $10.5MM annually.
Shazier, meanwhile, hasn’t ranked well according to PFF’s grades, but it’s fair to assume that his lingering knee issues have affected him. Through three games, the 24-year-old Shazier posted 12 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recover, and an interception. He’s signed through next season, but the Steelers will have the option of exercising a fifth-year option to lock up Shazier through 2018.
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