Linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III’s rookie season was cut short due to a back injury last season, shelving him for the back half of 2019. ESPN’s Brooke Pryor has provided an update, and bit of good news, on his injury.
According to Pryor, Gilbert suffered a fractured vertebra, an injury that had bothered him dating back to college.
“The chronic pain radiating in his hip area and lower back told him something was wrong, but it was also a pain the rookie had felt on and off since college. His hip never stopped hurting through training camp, the preseason and 150 special-teams snaps of the 2019 regular season.
He was diagnosed with a fractured L-5 vertebrae in his lower back in November. Rest was the only way for it to heal. His season was done.”
It doesn’t appear Gilbert required surgery, just plenty of rest and the ultimate factor – time – for his body to heal. According to Pryor, UG3 has been fully cleared and should be ready for training camp two months from now.
Knowing the injury was chronic and something he battled through makes his rookie season all the more impressive. Gilbert had an excellent training camp and preseason, making play after play. Exiting camp, here’s what we wrote about him.
“A great camp for one of the team’s 6th rounders. Maybe a bit of a quiet start but it quickly became evident he has the talent to get on the roster now and long-term, has the traits to play in this league. Rangy, competitive in coverage, and better processing and tackling than what I saw on his Akron tape. His special teams value should give him the edge over Skipper and if he makes the 53, could be active Week One if Adeniyi remains out. Happy with UG3’s performance.”
He also led the Steelers in special teams snaps, registering five tackles, before getting shut down. Pain free and with a year of experience, he’s being counted on as the #3 inside linebacker behind Devin Bush and Vince Williams. Check out our recent video breakdown on his preseason tape and why I consider him to be a top 2020 sleeper.