Initial Diagnosis is a Torn ACL for Zach Banner
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Zach Banner had to be carted off the field Monday night to be evaluated for a knee Injury. Upon evaluation, the Steelers have feared that Zach Banner has torn his ACL. The initial diagnosis by team doctors last night was that he tore it. You could see on his face last night what we all feared was coming. This morning Tom Pelissero with the NFL Network confirmed that fear. Banner is expected to get an MRI soon to confirm the Steelers team doctors Initial Diagnosis.
Tomlin told the media he does not have a lot of new information on injuries, but he has ruled out Zach Banner for the Week 2 game against the Broncos. Tomlin said he is more optimistic about James Conner (ankle) and Stefen Wisniewski's (pectoral) availability against Denver.
"It can be a cold game, but it's a lot like life," said Tomlin about Banner's injury. "We're not defined by what happens to us, we're defined by how we respond to it. So whenever unfortunate events like that occur, we talk openly about that. It's not that he was injured after all he has been through and the fight he has been through to get where he is. It's about what he does moving forward and responding to it. He's a competitor, he's a professional, and I expect him to smile in the face of adversity."
Going into the season there was a lot of discussion about the battle for the right tackle position between Banner and Chuks Okorofor, and as Tomlin mentioned previously, he feels Okorafor is starter-capable at right tackle.
"We've talked quite a bit about Chuks along with Zach Banner and the battle they had for right tackle, and as I've said repeatedly I thought both guys were starter-capable, and I still feel that way," Tomlin said. "So I'm extremely comfortable with Chuks and his ability to play, and his overall readiness."
When asked about starting right guard David Decastro, who has missed most of training camp and Monday night's game against the Giants with a knee injury, Tomlin stated: "I don't know. I'm hopeful that he's able to work (Wednesday). We'll see."
The Steelers could have a makeshift offensive line on Sunday against the Broncos, with Banner ruled out, the uncertainty of DeCastro's status and Wisniewski dealing with a pectoral injury. The offensive line could look like this from left to right; Alejandro Villanueva, Matt Feiler, Maurkice Pouncey, rookie Kevin Dotson and Chuks Okorafor.
"Dotson is a young guy who hasn't had a lot of work throughout this process because of injury and a lack of availability, and so there's some angst there," Tomlin said. "If he's called upon this week, it's going to take a tremendous effort by him and by us, and by us I mean us putting him in the very best position to perform. So there's some dual responsibility there."
According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the Steelers are signing offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins off of the Texans' practice squad to their active roster. Hawkins was a fourth-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2016.