Steelers: Starks' season in jeopardy
Steelers offensive lineman Max Starks' season is over; he's one of several Steelers lineman to suffer injuries this season.
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The news for the ailing Steelers turned worse late Tuesday afternoon when they learned that tackle Max Starks has a serious neck injury involving a disc and may not play again this season.
Starks was consulting with doctors late Tuesday to determine if the injury required surgery, or if it would heal over time without surgery using physical therapy instead, a source close to Starks told the Post-Gazette.
The source emphasized that the injury does not threaten Starks career.
Starks, the Steelers' starting left tackle, left the game Monday night in Cincinnati with what coach Mike Tomlin described as "stingers" in his neck. He returned to play but then left the game for good. Tomlin at his news conference Tuesday said Starks "experienced some stingers. We'll see where he is."
But an MRI later showed it to be a more serious injury of a disc in the upper vertebrae or neck area.
Starks, 28, is in his seventh season with the Steelers. He has started the past three seasons at left tackle and also started two seasons at right tackle.
The Steelers lost their starting right tackle, Willie Colon, to an Achilles injury in June. They also lost defensive end Aaron Smith for much of the season if not all with a torn triceps and placed quarterback Dennis Dixon on injured reserve.
The team has several options it can pursue to replace Starks. Jonathan Scott, signed as a free agent from Buffalo, started the second game of the season at left tackle in Tennessee for an injured Starks (ankle) and replaced him Monday night. Tony Hills, a fourth-round draft pick in 2008, has played some left tackle. Flozell Adams, the starting right tackle, was a five-time Pro Bowl left tackle in Dallas. He could move if the Steelers want to rearrange the two tackle positions on their line rather than one. They also have Ramon Foster, a backup guard who played right tackle at the University of Tennessee.
The Steelers also have a rookie tackle on their practice squad, Kyle Jolly.
First Published November 10, 2010 12:00 am