Loss Of DL Chris Wormley Is ‘Significant,’ Says Tomlin

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ run defense has been chewed up the last two weeks. It’s not going to get much easier with Chris Wormley undergoing knee surgery. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Mike Tomlin confirmed Wormley will need surgery on the left knee he injured in Sunday’s loss against the Baltimore Ravens. Though Tomlin didn’t specifically outline how much time will miss, he won’t play this weekend.

“It’s significant,” Tomlin said via the team’s YouTube channel when asked Wormley’s injury and loss.

Wormley suffered the injury rushing the quarterback in the second half of Sunday’s game. Though it’s a bit hard to tell, you can see Wormley’s leg buckle and give out in the middle of this rush.

In serious pain after the play, Wormley was helped off the field and quickly ruled out of the rest of the game. Tuesday, Tomlin didn’t go into specifics over Wormley’s injury but with four weeks left in the season and him needing surgery, it’s doubtful he returns this year.

When Larry Ogunjobi was signed, Wormley moved into a backup and rotational role this season. But he had been a solid and capable backup, a great technician who got off blocks and played technically sound while being able to play up and down the defensive line.

On the season, Wormley had recorded 29 tackles (three for a loss) with a half-sack he picked up in Sunday’s game against Baltimore. Facing his former team, Wormley was playing well with that sack and forced fumble shortly before his injury.

Turning 30 next October, Wormley is slated to be a free agent after the season. A serious knee injury could obviously hinder his market value, likely forcing him to take a one-year deal to prove his health. If he suffered a torn ACL, he almost certainly won’t be ready for the start of the 2023 season and is a strong PUP candidate to begin the year.

For the here and now, as Tomlin says, it’s next man up and the team will reshuffle the rotation without him.

“We’ve had weeks where others are unavailable and we’ve leaned more toward him. So he’s gonna be unavailable, we’re gonna lean more toward others and their skillsets and what they might be able to provide us.”

Isaiahh Loudermilk is one of the most logical options to replace Wormley as a rotational base defensive end. But he’s struggled in limited action this season and one of many players who struggled against the run as the Ravens ran for 215 yards Sunday. Tyson Alualu could play some defensive end too while Carlos Davis could be promoted from the practice squad. At this point, Davis should also see snaps at nose tackle given Alualu’s and Montravius Adams’ struggles this season. Assuming Wormley is placed on IR, there will be an open roster spot to place someone like Davis on the 53-man roster.

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