PITTSBURGH -- Kevin Dotson missed a week of practice during Steelers training camp due to a knee injury.
The rookie guard went down during practice and had to be assisted off the field by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. For the next seven days, he remained off the field.
Dotson said the injury was a wake-up call for how quickly things can change at camp. The fourth-round pick is fighting for a depth chart spot behind Stefen Wisniewski, and said he now needs to make his impact felt "faster."
"When it first happened, I was truly scared just off the initial pain," Dotson said. "After I started walking, it started getting a little better, so I eased my mind a little bit ... If you know me or my dad, you know I'm not a person to sit out for a long time. I feel like when I sit out that people start to think that you're soft or that you don't really want to work or you don't want to be out there. It was my proving time."
Dotson returned to practice during the Steelers' Friday night 'mock game.' During which, he played with the first team at right guard after David DeCastro left with an injury.
Despite being a rookie with limited experience, Dotson took the reps as an opportunity to shine after an injury.
"It gets your heart bumpin'," Dotson said. "That helps me in most situations to get my adrenaline up. Helps me think faster, move faster, go a little harder. I was glad to be put in that situation. To show my skills."
Working with the first team allowed Dotson to line up across from Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu. After working through the 'mock game' battling the starters, he feels he left Friday night with added confidence.
"I feel like I can hold my own against them," Dotson said. "I know that's quality competition, and if I can hold up against them, I can hold up against a lot of people."