Steelers Lose Simmons, Mendenhall for Season

The Steelers got a big win on Monday night, but they also suffered a lot of losses.

Starting guard Kendall Simmons tore an Achilles tendon. First-round pick and defacto starting tailback Rashard Mendenhall broke his shoulder. Both are headed to the injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season. This is the latest malady for Simmons who missed a season with a torn ACL early in his career and had to adjust to playing with diabetes a couple of years ago. Mendenhall broke his shoulder on a particularly hard (but fair) hit from linebacker Ray Lewis.

The Steelers will likely replace Simmons with either Trai Essex or Darnell Stapleton, although the way to get the best five on the field would be to move Willie Colon inside to guard while Max Starks slides into the right tackle spot.

The situation at running back is going to be more dire in the short term. Starting tailback Willie Parker is probably still a week or two away from returning with a knee sprain, while No. 3 tailback/starting fullback Carey Davis has an ankle injury and will likely miss at least a week or two. The Steelers will assuredly add Gary Russell back to the active roster this week and he'll see serious playing time on Sunday as Mewelde Moore's backup this week.

As bad as it sounds to start a fourth-string tailback, we saw on Monday night how Moore is pretty useful. He's too small to effectively pass block, but he has averaged 4.8 yards per carry over his five-year career and he's very nifty coming out of the backfield catching passes. And Russell is a reasonably useful power back who could fill the short-yardage role this week and get 5-10 carries to spell Moore.

There was good news for the Steelers. Andre Frazier was carted off with a scary looking spinal injury on the first play of the game, but the AP reported that he was walking around the locker room after the game.

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