Steelers: Surgery possible for four starters

The painful finish to the season could continue for four Steelers starters.

Nose tackle Casey Hampton, defensive end Brett Keisel, offensive tackle Max Starks and center Maurkice Pouncey are all candidates for surgery, coach Mike Tomlin said at his season-ending news conference, via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Hampton and Starks injured their ACLs and Keisel hurt his groin during Sunday's 29-23 overtime playoff loss at Denver. Pouncey, who didn't play Sunday because of a high-ankle sprain, also might need surgery.

When Hampton and Keisel both left the game early with injuries, Pittsburgh was left with three healthy defensive linemen. Ziggy Hood, Steve McLendon and Cameron Heyward were the Steelers' iron men, essentially playing the rest of the game without any rotation.

The Steelers gave up 131 yards rushing to the Broncos but limited them to a respectable 3.9 yards per carry.

Without Pouncey and Starks, the Steelers allowed five sacks. Doug Legursky, who replaced Pouncey, put the Steelers out of field goal range in the final seconds of the first half when his high shotgun snap pushed Pittsburgh back into its own territory.