Pittsburgh defensive end Greg Romeus will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a disk in his lower back.
Head coach Dave Wannestadt, in a statement, said that he hoped to have Romeus back by the end of the season. It is unclear as to when Romeus originally hurt his back. He played, albeit ineffectively, in the season-opening loss to Utah. Romeus did not play last week against New Hampshire.
Part of Wannestadt's statement acknowledged that the surgery “is the best option for Greg, personally and athletically.”
Romeus, 6-5 and 268 pounds, is a signficant loss to the Panthers. Lining up opposite Jabaal Sheard, himself a legitimate NFL pass rush prospect, Romeus earned Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors last season with 43 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception and a blocked PAT.
Regardless of if Romeus is able to return to the field for the Panthers this season, his final draft status will ultimately hinge on the medical grades given by team doctors at the Scouting Combine.
When healthy, Romeus has proven to be among the country's better pass rush prospects.
Prior to the season Romeus had been graded by NFLDraftScout.com as a potential first round prospect. I had him going to the Seattle Seahawks with the sixth overall pick in my initial 2011 mock draft (which featured only seniors).