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Steelers lose Pouncey replacement Velasco (Achilles') for season

Steelers center Fernando Velasco prepares to snap the ball against the Ravens prior to tearing his Achilles. (USATSI)
Steelers center Fernando Velasco prepares to snap the ball against the Ravens prior to tearing his Achilles. (USATSI)

Steelers starting center Fernando Velasco, who did an admirable job filling in for All-Pro Maurkice Pouncey with Pouncey on injured reserve, has been lost for the season because of an Achilles' tear, according to a league source, The team will be signing depth replacements.

Pittsburgh suffered several key injuries in the loss at Baltimore on Thursday night, which could see them miss the postseason. Running back Le'Veon Bell suffered a concussion on a goal-line hit late in the game, and while he is progressing well, it is still far too early to determine his status for Week 14 with a concussion protocol to follow next week.

The Steelers are hopeful that starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum, who has surprised as well with his play under duress, will not miss significant time, Reserve tackle Mike Adams was also injured in the loss to he Ravens, but he too is not expected to miss significant time, sources said.

Pittsburgh's offensive line -- never a strength in recent years -- has been further crippled by injuries, though on the bright side it has developed better depth by needing depth guys like Beachum, drafted 248th overall in 2012, and Velasco, signed off the street when Pouncey went down in Week 1, to perform in big games.

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