Cam Heyward isn’t likely to return until closer to Thanksgiving. But if he had his way, he’d get out on the field Monday night. Speaking to reporters Saturday, younger brother Connor Heyward says Cam is already attacking his rehab after having surgery on his injured groin Thursday.
“He’s doing better,” he said via Steelers.com. “I saw him yesterday. He was moving around. I said, ‘Slow down, slow down.’ He’s like, ‘I’m good, I’m good.’”
Heyward suffered the groin injury in the first half of last Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Twice, he tried to play through it and return to the game but left after one snap, hardly able to walk off the sideline the second time he attempted to get back into action.
Given his competitive nature, it’s no surprise to see Heyward already taking an aggressive approach to his recovery.
“He’s taking his rehab very seriously,” Connor added. “He’s already on top of things.”
Following what was described as a core muscle surgery, Heyward is expected to be out two months. Pittsburgh will use a committee approach to replace him, relying on DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Armon Watts, and others to fill his shoes. But it’s a huge role to replace, as a player and as a leader, and their first test will be a tough one against the Cleveland Browns’ strong rushing attack Monday night. Cleveland rushed for over 200 yards in its Week One win against the Cincinnati Bengals.
For Heyward, it’s his first major injury since suffering a torn pectoral that ended his 2016 season midway through the year. And this will essentially be the first time of his NFL career that he attempts to come back from a severe injury over the course of a season. Now 34 years old, there are questions about how much longer he’ll play and how he’ll effective he’ll be once he returns.
But those are things to worry about later in the season. For the here and now, there’s only one Heyward on the field to help the team Monday night. Connor will do his part as an H-back and tight end. In Week One, he caught two passes for 19 yards while playing 17 snaps on offense. He also logged 17 snaps on special teams.