David DeCastro missed the first two games of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season due to a knee injury that he suffered a some point over the course of training camp. Not only did he fail to play in those games, but he also failed to even step on the practice field as a limited participant.
The week leading up to game three was completely different. He was a full participant all the way through the work week, and then he played every snap of the game, even, over time, being featured as a pulling guard in what was a successful day for the running game. How does he feel after that?
“The knee felt great”, he told reporters earlier this week after getting through his first competitive participation of the year. “I was really happy. You always worry coming off of an injury, having confidence, but it felt really good and held up really well”.
You couldn’t really ask for better news than that regarding DeCastro, quite frankly, who other than a fractured finger in 2018 has not missed a game since suffering a torn MCL as a rookie, at least up until this latest knee injury.
Given how it has played out, one suspects that they managed this injury deliberately out of an abundance of caution in the hopes of achieving this exact result—that he would be able to come back without missing a beat and be no worse for wear.
Even though it took them two different starters to get through the two games that he missed. Stefen Wisniewski, a veteran signed in free agency, started the opener in his absence, but suffered a pectoral injury that put him on injured reserve.
Rookie Kevin Dotson stepped into his place for the final several snaps of the opener that he missed, and then made his starting debut a week later, to positive reviews. Many outlets have reported that he did not give up a single pressure in pass protection, though that doesn’t mean he was flawless.
Still, he won’t be getting another start for a while, at least not at right guard, under DeCastro’s watch. He came back into the lineup and showed why he is one of the highest-paid interior linemen in the NFL, performing well both in pass protection and in the running game.
And from the sounds of it, he doesn’t have any lingering concerns about his knee, which is great news, especially considering the fact that they have already lost one starting offensive lineman for the season in Zach Banner, and his primary backup, Wisniewski, is still on the shelf for an unknown period of time.