Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell is primed for a leading role on the ground, but the loss of receiver Mike Wallace strips Pittsburgh's passing game of a proven deep threat. The Steelers also figure to go without veteran tight end Heath Miller come September.
Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote Saturday that Miller probably won't be back for at least the first month of the regular season as he rehabs from surgery to repair three ligament tears in his knee. The Steelers reportedly still plan to pull Miller off the active/physically unable to perform list prior to the regular season, an approach they took last year with running back Rashard Mendenhall.
With backup tight end Matt Spaeth expected to miss up to 10 weeks following Lisfranc surgery, David Paulson and Jamie McCoy loom as Pittsburgh's primary tight ends. That won't help the team's run blocking. Miller's absence in the pass game might have a bigger impact on Ben Roethlisberger than losing Wallace.
Injury updates from around the league:
» More bad news at tight end. Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen announced Saturday that David Ausberry will miss the remainder of the preseason with a shoulder injury suffered in Friday's preseason loss to the New Orleans Saints. Like the Steelers, the Raiders are dangerously thin at tight end. Allen, per the San Francisco Chronicle, said he's waiting "to see if anyone takes the leap" at the position, where Richard Gordon, Jeron Mastrud, Mychal Rivera and Nick Kasa are battling for snaps.
» Staying in the AFC West, the Denver Broncos received promising news on Louis Vasquez. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport was told the team's starting offensive guard is "fine" after leaving Saturday's 40-10 loss to the Seahawks with knee pain. Denver was victimized by a rash of injuries in defeat. Along with defensive tackle Derek Wolfe's cervical spine injury -- which appears less dire than first believed -- cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) and receiver Wes Welker (ankle) were banged up in the loss.
» Texans coach Gary Kubiak on Sunday told reporters the team "got good news" on Saturday regarding Ed Reed's return to the field. This came after the veteran safety visited a hip specialist in Atlanta. Kubiak, however, failed to paint a clear timeframe for Reed's return from offseason surgery, so we're not holding our breath.
» Kendall Wright sprained his knee Saturday during the Titans' 27-19 preseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, a source briefed on the injury told Rapoport. The receiver is likely out for the remainder of the preseason, Rapoport reported. Titans coach Mike Munchak confirmed the injury and listed Wright as day-to-day. Munchak said Wright won't play Saturday versus the Atlanta Falcons, but hope remains he'll be available for Week 1.
» Rapoport also reported Sunday that X-rays on Akeem Ayers' ankle were negative, per a source informed of the injury. The Titans linebacker is set to undergo an MRI exam that will help determine his availability. Tennessee hardly can afford to lose anyone at the position with middle linebacker Colin McCarthy nursing a hamstring injury. As with Wright, Munchak expects Ayers to play in the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
» Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer tweeted that Panthers linebacker Jon Beason practiced Sunday. The team has taken a cautious approach with the oft-injured defender coming off microfracture surgery on his right knee. Beason has appeared in just five games since 2010, one reason he was asked to take a $4.25 million pay cut this season.
» Obviously a tough day in South Beach, where the Dolphins learned that tight end Dustin Keller will miss the entire season after suffering a horrible knee injury in Miami's preseason loss to the Houston Texans. He won't be easy to replace, and -- after suffering a torn ACL, PCL, MCL and dislocated knee cap -- it's fair to wonder if and when Keller will play again.The Around The League Podcast is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.