PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith has a neck injury that will require surgery. It will end his season and possibly his playing career.
Smith had missed two games this season with a sprained foot, but 93-7 The Fan Steelers insider Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette reports a neck injury apparently “came up” recently and after an examination the team placed him on injured reserve, ending his season.
“He has to have surgery,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said after Sunday’s 32-20 win at Arizona. “I don’t have the details. He was experiencing some discomfort and pain. He thought it was a function of playing.
“Once he hurt his ankle he thought it would calm down. After a period of time it didn’t. He consulted with our doctors and let them know what he was experiencing. They evaluated it and looked at it. They determined it needs to be fixed.”
Smith played in just 11 games combined in 2009 and 2010 because of arm injuries. He used the word “disappointed” to best describe his feelings after another season-ending injury.
“You work hard, circumstances change and it doesn’t work out,” he told Bouchette.
Many of the Steelers expressed after the game that they will dedicate the rest of the season to Smith.
Other injury news:
Wide receiver Hines Ward suffered a sprained ankle in the third quarter Sunday. He went to the locker room to be examined and finished the game standing on the sideline.
Tomlin gave Ward’s injury a wait-and-see prognosis.
“Hines had an ankle and was unable to return. We’ll see as the week goes on,” Tomlin said. “You know Hines always finds a way to defy logic when it comes to injury and so forth. We will definitely leave a seat on the bus for him. We’ll see where next week takes us.”
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was seen limping in the locker room. He said his knee got bent backwards in the fourth quarter and it will be examined this week. The injury didn’t force Roethlisberger to miss any time.
Steelers inactives on Sunday were nose tackles Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke, linebackers James Harrison and Jason Worilds, guard Doug Legursky, running back Jonathan Dwyer and quarterback Dennis Dixon.