By Dale Grdnic
LATROBE, Pa. — Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor wasn’t certain about much Sunday morning, only that he probably broke his left thumb during the second play against the Washington Redskins Friday night.
Taylor likely will need surgery to repair the damage to the thumb and miss maybe three weeks, which means he could be ready to play the Steelers’ regular-season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. But all that is speculation.
“I don’t know,” Taylor said. “I’ll find out whenever they let me know. It feels good, but I don’t really think you can play at 100 percent during an entire season. But we’re going to figure something out. We’ll definitely figure something out for the season.
“I’m sure they already have something brewing back there. … The coaching staff and the doctors are going to tell me what time it is. Of course, I want to play, but they’ll let me know what’s what, and then I’ll tell you all. So, I have to wait on the doctors to see what they’re going to say.”
Taylor, who recently signed a four-year, $28 million free-agent deal to remain with the Steelers, said he injured his pinky finger once before and played with the injury because the club had a bye week after that.
Veteran William Gay, who also signed a free-agent deal to stay with the Steelers before camp, started at left cornerback for injured Bryant McFadden (hamstring) against the Redskins. And Taylor started on the right side. Third-year player Keenan Lewis came in for Taylor and played considerably.
McFadden, who has missed nearly the entire training camp with his injury, said Sunday that he hoped to practice today and possibly play against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night.
“You feel some pain, but you really don’t think about it when you’re out there on the field,” Taylor said. “When things start to settle in, then you take care of it, and I told the doctor to look at it. When they were on our 12, I think there was a TV timeout, and our doctor looked at it then.
“He said `yeah, get your butt out of there.’ But I really don’t know exactly how I did it, only when I think it happened. When I felt the pain, so it was a freak accident or something like that. But you don’t even think about pain in a game. It’s never a good thing to sit out, and I like being out there with the guys, seeing them work. I like being a part of that, especially doing what I need to do to work on my craft.
“So, we’ll work something out so I can play in the (regular-season) opening game,” Taylor added. “But I’m OCD when it comes to working out. So, the workout I have now, I’m looking at how I can tweak that to still get everything down with this cast on. It’s definitely possible that I can play with a cast, but we’ll see what they tell me I can and can’t do.”
Veteran wide receiver Hines Ward played with a thumb injury nearly all of last season and just got surgery to repair the damage in early July. He and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who also played with a cast on his hand a couple years ago, offered opinions on what Taylor could do.
“Playing with a cast on, hopefully that will help him catch the ball better,” Ward joked, in reference to Taylor’s lack of interceptions. “Maybe we can put some stickum on it to help him out. But Ike’s a warrior, and he’s going to play. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to play with injuries, but we don’t need Ike now. We just need him in a few weeks at Baltimore.”
Timmons also broke his left thumb during his second season and played with it.
“I really don’t expect him to make too many catches with that cast on,” Timmons said. “I still feel like he’s going to be a great defender like he always is, and I don’t think they’ll be a drop-off in his play.
“So, I think he’ll be fine for the Baltimore game. … I was just a third-down guy when I broke mine. You can’t catch too many balls with your thumb like that, but other than that I did all right. And I’m sure Ike will be just fine, too.”
Notes: The Steelers activated left offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu from the PUP list earlier this afternoon.