Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Javon Hargrave sustained a knee injury during the team’s first practice session on Monday, according to TribLive.com.
Hargrave, a rookie drafted in the third round, is notable for being tabbed a starter on the team’s defensive line, specifically at nose tackle. At noted by ESPN, this is a big deal as the Steelers haven’t started a rookie on their consistently-strong defensive line in over 20 years.
It’s unclear whether or not the injury will put off his starting debut, but he does have an extra day to heal up as the Steelers open the regular season against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football.
The injury isn’t believed to be serious, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, and Hargrave is “hoping” to play in Week 1. There won’t be any more information until an official practice participation report comes out for Tuesday.
Hargrave was announced as the starter at nose tackle just hours before his injury on Monday. This move definitely hurts the Steelers if he has to miss any actual game time, as they had to like Hargrave a lot to give him such an important role as a rookie.
He bought out Dan McCullers for the role, and was set to start alongside Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward. Heyward himself was a first-round pick but was not a Day 1 starter.
Hargrave played collegiately at South Carolina State, where in his season he accumulated 59 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and two forced fumbles and was named an AP All-American.