Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward will undergo groin surgery on Thursday and is expected to be sidelined for about eight weeks, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo.
Heyward suffered the injury in Sunday's Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He had one quarterback hit in the first half before being ruled out.
This is the first major injury Heyward has suffered since a torn pectoral ended his 2016 season after only seven games.
The Steelers defense was picked apart by Brock Purdy and the 49ers in a 30-7 Week 1 loss. Purdy threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns while running back Christian McCaffrey rushed for 152 yards and one score.
The loss of Heyward is a tough blow for the Steelers as they enter a divisional matchup against Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns on Monday night.
Isaiahh Loudermilk and rookie Keannu Benton figure to see more playing time with Heyward sidelined. However, they won't be able to replace the veteran who has been a staple on the defensive line since 2011.
Heyward entered the 2023 season having earned six straight Pro Bowl selections. During the 2022 season, he posted 10.5 sacks, four pass breakups, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, 74 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 23 quarterback hits.
Pittsburgh's run defense will be tested early against the Browns in Week 2 with the likes of Nick Chubb and Jerome Ford in the backfield to go alongside the running ability of Watson, who rushed for 45 yards and one touchdown in Week 1.