Heyward is having surgery to repair his groin on Thursday in Pittsburgh, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported. The Steelers defensive lineman is expected to miss approximately eight weeks but is expected to be able to return around the midpoint of the regular season.
The Steelers officially placed Heyward on injured reserve later Thursday.
Heyward's injury was one of the many unfortunate occurrences in Pittsburgh's season-opening loss to San Francisco on Sunday.
He played just 14 snaps before exiting with the injury and only briefly returned before exiting again, forcing the Steelers to piece together a replacement plan that included Isaiahh Loudermilk and Keeanu Benton. With Heyward out, 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey capitalized, finishing the day with 152 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, while quarterback Brock Purdy found the going easier in a 220-yard, two-touchdown outing.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin admitted his team "got kicked in the teeth today in a lot of ways," following its 30-7 defeat. The absence of Heyward -- a six-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and the grizzled veteran of Pittsburgh's defense with 78.5 career sacks to his name -- will sting much longer than Sunday's loss did.
Next up, Pittsburgh takes on the division-rival Cleveland Browns on Monday night.