PITTSBURGH -- For the second year in a row, the Pittsburgh Steelers could be without one of their defensive captains for an extended period of time.
There's growing concern the Steelers (0-1) could be without defensive lineman Cameron Heyward for several weeks after the six-time Pro Bowl selection suffered a groin injury in the first half of the season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers, a league source confirmed to ESPN.
While injured reserve is an option and would sideline Heyward for four weeks, it's not a guarantee, the source told ESPN.
A decision on whether Heyward will undergo surgery hasn't been made yet and is waiting on another opinion Tuesday, a source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
"It's very tough, but man, we got more dogs too," linebacker Kwon Alexander said Monday. "Cam is very tough. He's a veteran, been in the league long time. He knows how to play the game well, but we've got guys that got to step up and get ready for the action."
Heyward, 34, appeared to injure his groin rushing quarterback Brock Purdy in the first quarter Sunday. He came out for several plays before trying to give it a go again. He played a handful of snaps after that, but he was ruled out at halftime of the 30-7 loss.
A year ago, the Steelers lost pass rusher T.J. Watt for nearly half the season after he tore a pectoral muscle in the season opener.
With Heyward sidelined, the Steelers will turn to a collection of linemen to replace him, including rookie Keeanu Benton, DeMarvin Leal and Armon Watts. Leal was slowed Sunday by an elbow injury, while Larry Ogunjobi, the Steelers' other starting defensive end, was limited in practice last week with a foot injury.