The Steelers will be without defensive end Aaron Smith this week in New Orleans and for the foreseeable future, but there is hope that his season isn't finished.
Smith underwent surgery on Monday after suffering partially torn triceps in his left arm in the Steelers 23-22 win over the Miami Dolphins, leaving the game in the third quarter.
"It was partially torn and was fixed," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "He is going to be out an extended period of time and at this juncture we intend to wait that out. Aaron is a quality player, a veteran leader for us. If there is hope for his return then of course we are going to be hopeful for as long as we possibly can.
"It's going to be an extended number of weeks. We'll just see how it goes."
The team expects to sign another defensive end, and could stay in-house and activate Steve McLendon off of the practice squad.
"Steve has stepped up when given the opportunity at other parts of the season," said Tomlin. "Position flexibility is something we talk about continually, not only with Steve but with others. (Chris) Hoke has proven he is capable of playing the end. We'll have a mix and match concept that hopefully will see us through."
Tackle Flozell Adams, who suffered an ankle injury against the Dolphins, will be limited in practice in the early part of the week. Defensive end Brett Keisel and linebacker LaMarr Woodley will also be limited in practice early in the week.
"We are hopeful those guys can play," said Tomlin. "We'll see where the week takes us.
"We have Ziggy Hood and Nick Eason ready to play, until we get further information we will proceed with that mentality. Hopefully in the later part of the week we will be able to ponder the possibility of Brett Keisel's participation."