The Pittsburgh Steelers report to Latrobe for training camp on Wednesday. Prior to the their first practice, head coach Mike Tomlin must designate players that will start camp on the Active PUP list, meaning that they can not practice until removed.
For players to be eligible for the Reserve PUP list at the start of the 2012 season, they must start off camp on the Active PUP list. Once a player practices, he is no longer eligible for the Reserve PUP list.
With the above clarification out of the way, let\’s look at a few players we expect on that list later this week along with a few that might be listed for precautionary reasons.
EXPECTED TO START ON PUP
RB Rashard Mendenhall – It is a given that Mendenhall will start training camp on the list as he continues to rehab the ACL in his right knee that he tore in the final regular season game against the Cleveland Browns. Mendenhall is not expected to practice any in camp and will be relegated to working on the side with trainers. It will be surprising if he does not start the regular season on the Reserve PUP list.
NT Casey Hampton – Like Mendenhall, Hampton also is still rehabbing from a torn ACL that he suffered in the AFC Wild Card game. Hampton is shooting to be ready by week 1 of the season and will work on the side for the entire duration of camp. His progress in the final days leading up to the final cut down date will determine if he starts the season on the Steelers 53 man roster, or the Reserve PUP list.
T Max Starks – Starks, who was signed back to the roster just last week, is expected to begin camp on the Active PUP list while he continues to rehab his torn ACL. Starks likely will not practice for at least the first two weeks, so that means he most likely will not play in the Steelers first two preseason games as a result. He is expected to be ready by week 1.
POSSIBLE TO START ON PUP
LB Jason Worilds – Worilds missed all of the Steelers OTA & mini camp practices because he was still recovering from offseason wrist surgery. When linebackers coach Keith Butler was asked following the final OTA practice if Worilds would be healthy enough from the scapholunate diastasis procedure by the start of training camp, he would only say, “Who knows?”
LB James Harrison – Harrison was able to participate in the first OTA session this offseason, but he missed the remainder of the football in shorts sessions after that with either a leg injury or knee swelling. Be reminded that Harrison also had a discectomy on his back last offseason, followed quickly by a clean up procedure, so the Steelers might just start him out slow in training camp for precautionary reasons. Regardless if he begins camp on the Active PUP list or not, you can expect he will be given quite a few practices off leading up to the start of the regular season.
UNLIKELY TO START ON PUP
LB Stevenson Sylvester – Sylvester missed time during the final minicamp with some sort of minor injury possibly to his leg. There has not been much reported about the injury, so it appears to have been minor.
CB Curtis Brown – Like Sylvester, Brown also missed time during the final minicamp with a wrap on his leg. Brown had a torn meniscus repaired late last season, so it either could be related to that or just a sore hamstring.
RB Baron Batch – Batch was able to ditch his no contact jersey during the final minicamp session and figures to be ready for action after tearing his ACL late in training camp last year.
The eight players above are the only ones that stick out as known candidates for the Active PUP list when the Steelers arrive at Latrobe. Of course any other player that might arrive this week with a minor hamstring pull or ding of some sorts will be placed on the list as well to start to camp.