Willie Colon has been put on the injured reserve list for the third consecutive year, as the left guard won't return to the Pittsburgh Steelers from his knee injury this season.
The seventh-year offensive lineman hurt his knee Week 11 against Baltimore, and tried to return Week 14 against the San Diego Chargers, but quickly aggravated the injury and has been out since. For a while, the line - already with injuries to Marcus Gilbert and his backup Mike Adams at right tackle - was awkwardly shuffled around with Doug Legursky starting at center and all-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey swapped to left guard to replace Colon - but with the return of first-round pick David DeCastro from injury, everybody on the line can now play their natural position.
Colon missed the whole 2010 season with an Achilles injury, then tore his triceps in the first game of 2011 and missed the rest of the year. He's started all 62 games he's played for the Steelers, switching from right tackle to left guard this offseason.
The roster spot opened up by Colon will be used for former starting running back Rashard Mendenhall, who returns to the team after a one-week suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Mendenhall has been shaken by injuries this year, but poor play and a poor response to being benched also explain why he has only 34 carries on the year.