Steelers encouraged by Ramon Foster’s injury prognosis
Members of the Steelers offensive line feared the worst -- a season-ending injury -- when guard Ramon Foster was carted off the field Saturday afternoon.
They were much more upbeat Sunday morning and encouraged that Foster’s knee injury might not keep him out of action beyond training camp.
“Luckily, it’s not too bad, and he’ll be back,” guard David DeCastro said.
Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Foster will not need surgery on his right knee, but Tomlin would not speculate on how much time the veteran guard might miss. NFL Network reported Foster will be out four to five weeks, and two national outlets reported he had a bone bruise.
“I never speculate,” Tomlin said. “I’m always hopeful ... so we got relatively good news.”
The Steelers weren’t as optimistic when Foster dropped to the ground in pain early in the team’s first padded practice. Foster remained down for several moments before being helped to his feet and assisted into a cart. He was taken to a hospital for further testing and was back on the Saint Vincent campus Saturday night.
“He was in good spirits,” said guard B.J. Finney, who will move into Foster’s spot in the lineup. “That’s a good thing. When a guy is in good spirits, hopefully it’s good news. Now let’s get him back to us and get him healthy.”
Foster, 32, is entering his 10th season with the Steelers. He has been a full-time starter since 2011 and has formed a tight bond with his fellow linemen. He has been teammates with Maurkice Pouncey for the past eight years and DeCastro the past six.
“He’s the old man,” DeCastro said. “He’s been doing this a while. We have a good group. We have really grown a lot together and had a lot of fun together, so that’s the part that (stinks) is not having him there. But hopefully he will be back soon enough.”
While Foster was still on the ground being attended to by the training and medical staff, Tomlin signaled for practice to continue. Finney jumped into Foster’s spot on the line, and the drills resumed.
“It’s the mentality that the next guy has got to come up and you’ve got to keep things going,” Finney said. “It’s not that we’re dismissing Ramon. Ramon is a core guy and a key figure on this team. Everybody loves Ramon. Everybody wants him back.”
Foster’s injury is the second significant one on the offensive line in the past three months. At least it isn’t as serious as the one sustained by backup tackle Jerald Hawkins, who tore a quadriceps muscle that required season-ending surgery.
Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva said the Steelers can’t alter their practice approach because of the fear of injuries.
“It’s football,” he said. “We have to get used to the hitting, the conditioning that is football, and we have this period of time which has been a test to us in terms of our intestinal fortitude and our ability to play multiple days in a row with pads and suffer through injuries and play through them.
“This is part of the business. It’s not fun, but it’s part of the preparation process that we all expect.”