Coach Mike Tomlin will have to do more than juggle his offensive line for Sunday's game in Dallas; he will have to do much the same with his secondary because of the possibility of losing another cornerback.
Guard Willie Colon, who aggravated a left knee injury against the San Diego Chargers, had surgery Monday and will miss at least the next two games and probably the rest of the regular season.
Tomlin said they will wait to see how Colon's knee responds to the surgery before making a determination if he can play again this season.
Also, cornerback Cortez Allen, who has replaced injured starter Ike Taylor, has a hip flexor injury that Tomlin said could keep him out of the game against the Cowboys. Taylor will miss his second game in a row with a hairline fracture of his right ankle.
Cornerback Keenan Lewis also sustained a hip flexor injury against the Chargers, but Tomlin indicated his injury is not as severe.
He said Allen's injury will force the Steelers to get Curtis Brown, Josh Victorian and DeMarcus Van Dyke ready to play in the secondary. Brown, who moved up to nickel back with Taylor's injury, was eventually benched against the Chargers because he struggled in coverage, especially on third down.
Tomlin said the Steelers might have to simplify their defense to make sure his inexperienced cornerbacks don't struggle as they did against the Chargers, who converted 12 of 22 third downs.
"It's not about what we call; it's about what they can execute," Tomlin said.
With Colon out, Tomlin indicated it is possible that rookie No. 1 David DeCastro could play at right guard and Ramon Foster would switch to left guard against the Cowboys. The reason, Tomlin said, is because he might prefer to leave Maurkice Pouncey at center against Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff.
"We believe that his health is at level where, if we like what we see, he might have the opportunity to play," Tomlin said of DeCastro, who has dressed each of the past two games and played only on field-goal and extra-point units.
In addition to Taylor, Tomlin said tackle Mike Adams also will not play. Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley is expected to return after missing the past two games, Tomlin said.
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter: @gerrydulac First Published December 11, 2012 6:15 PM