The Pittsburgh Steelers have not ruled out defensive end Aaron Smith for the 2010 season. But during his weekly news conference, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said Smith will miss an "extended period."
Smith had surgery Monday to replace a partially torn triceps injury he suffered in Pittsburgh's win over the Miami Dolphins. Tomlin said there is hope that Smith could return this year, so the team will wait before making any further decisions.
"Aaron's a quality player, a veteran leader for us, and if there's hope that he will return, then of course we're going to be hopeful as long as we possibly can," Tomlin said. "That's our mentality as we sit here today."
Pittsburgh has struggled replacing Smith in the past when he's been injured. Ziggy Hood, a 2009 first-round pick, is expected to replace Smith in the starting lineup.
Starting defensive end Brett Keisel (hamstring) and Pro Bowl linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) will be both be limited in practice this week, according to Tomlin. But it's possible one or both could play Sunday night against the New Orleans Saints (4-3).