Since being selected fifteenth overall in the 2007 NFL draft, Lawrence Timmons has been a mainstay on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense. Making starts in 94 of the 126 games he has appeared in since his rookie season, Timmons has stayed relatively healthy in the eight years he has played in the NFL.
Lost behind more prolific inside linebackers in the league such as Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner, Timmons has quietly climbed the ranks of notoriety at his position as the years have progressed. After years of excellent play, Timmons finally earned his first Pro Bowl nomination in 2014. On a defense that is currently in a transitional period after losing many starters, he is one key veteran that can be called upon to be an example of hard work and determination to many.
When it was reported that Timmons was on the inactive list for the Steelers’ first official preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars it came as a surprise to many. There have been very few instances where #94 has not been on the field. Later the news would be released that Timmons would be sitting out of practices and the preseason matchup against the Green Bay Packers with a case of turf toe.
Turf toe is a sprain to the ligaments in the joint of the big toe caused by repetitive hyperextension of the toe. Depending on how long the injury went untreated before Timmons was held out of practices and games will determine just how severe the injury is. Keeping his foot on ice and elevated is the best way to combat the swelling that comes with it until the ligaments heal.
Since we have heard no news of surgery being needed, it is most likely that it is an injury that will only keep him off the field until the start of the regular season.
The Steelers do not seem too concerned, but there could always be something that they are unwilling to release to the media. The loss of Timmons for multiple weeks would be something the Steelers could very much do without.
The Steelers are not strangers to being without one of their star inside linebackers.
Ryan Shazier, the team’s first round draft pick in 2014, missed multiple games last season due to an MCL sprain. While a rookie missing time is not quite as serious, a seasoned veteran being absent from the field for an extended period of time would hold strong repercussions.
If Timmons is forced to miss the start of the season, the Steelers have a considerable amount of depth at middle linebacker. Vince Williams has started in 13 of the 31 games he has appeared in after two years in the league, but is also missing time due to a hamstring injury.
Sean Spence, who started in place of Timmons against the Packers, was a serviceable replacement for Shazier last season after missing two years with a near career ending knee injury.
Ian Wild, who the Steelers have recently converted from safety to inside linebacker, could prove to be an invaluable member of the linebacker corps if injuries continue to persist. Given his knowledge of the safety position, he has that experience to draw from in packages where he is required to drop back into coverage.
Though the Steelers have the personnel to temporarily fill the void left by Timmons, they cannot substitute the hard-hitting prowess and veteran knowledge he is known for. The organization is hopeful for a speedy recovery, as they will need all hands on deck come September 10th when they face off against the New England Patriots to start the 2015 season.
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