Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward hasn't missed a single game since 2020, but an injury is bringing that streak to a close.
Heyward reportedly had surgery on his groin Thursday morning, and will miss eight weeks for recovery and rehab.
#Steelers perennial Pro Bowl DL Cam Heyward is having surgery to repair his groin today in Pittsburgh, per me and @MikeGarafolo. He’s expected to miss about eight weeks, but will be back midway through this season. He suffered his injury Sunday. pic.twitter.com/RQVLrfKA05
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 14, 2023
The 34-year-old Heyward injured his groin in the Steelers' one-sided 30-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. He left the game just before halftime and was officially announced to be out at the start of the third quarter.
Heyward, a 13-year Steelers veteran who has missed two total games since 2016, is a vital member of Pittsburgh's defense and pass-rush, putting up 10 sacks in 2021 and 2022. He leaves big shoes to fill, and it looks like more than one guy will be filling them. Head coach Mike Tomlin said during a recent news conference that he expects Isaiahh Loudermilk, DeMarvin Leal, Keeanu Benton and Armon Watts to all step up and fill the void.
Loudermilk echoed that when speaking to the media on Wednesday.
“I think it’s huge for the whole D-line, but especially for the young guys to try to step up and fill that hole as best we can,” Loudermilk said. “That’s a tough one to try to fill. He’s an incredible player. It’s going to be on us to be able to step up and make sure we’re playing good.”
Loudermilk also said he put in a lot of work during the offseason and is ready to show everyone he can handle Heyward's workload.
“As soon as I heard the news, it was kind of like, ‘Let’s make sure we lock in because now it’s time to show everyone the work I put in and show everyone the kind of player I am because the spotlight is going to be me a lot more now with a guy like Cam going down,’” Loudermilk said. “I feel confident and I’m ready to accept the challenge.”