The Steelers have placed OT Max Starks on injured reserve, ending his season. Starks suffered a disc injury in his neck during the Monday-night win over the Bengals. He will undergo surgery, but the team expects him to recover in time for the 2011 season.
Starks left the Bengals game with "stingers" in his neck. He returned but then left for good. An MRI showed it was more serious than a stinger.
Starks, a seventh-year veteran, has been the starter at left tackle the past three seasons. The Steelers lost starting ORT Willie Colon to an injury in June.
To fill Starks' roster spot, the team has activated fifth-round rookie OT Chris Scott from the phycially-unable-to-perform list. Scott had been on the PUP list while rehabbing the broken foot he suffered in the summer, which caused him to miss all of training camp.
The way we see it
This is a tough blow for the Steelers. OT Jonathan Scott, who filled in at times when Starks was banged up earlier this season, will likely take his place. Scott has experience, with 15 career starts over four seasons, and he has played in all eight games this season with one start. With Flozell Adams starting at ORT, the Steelers will be essentially starting two backups at the tackle position the rest of the way. OG Trai Essex has battled injuries this season, and rookie C Maurkice Pouncey got dinged up on Monday. The Steelers, an AFC favorite, have the Jets, Ravens and Browns left on their schedule still, all teams with a solid pass rush.
As for Scott, he was described by PFW draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki in the 2010 Draft Preview book as a "thick-bodied mauler who lined up at tackle and guard in college and has the size, awareness and versatility to compete for a job if he could manage his weight and buy into a program."