Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison told the media on Tuesday that he still expects that he will be ready to play in season opener against Denver Broncos.
Harrison had a minor scope procedure performed last week on his left knee which was rumored to have involved removing a bone spur from behind his knee cap. He has not practiced since the first week of offseason OTA\’s and he has been on the Steelers Active PUP list since training camp opened.
Despite missing so much time, Harrison said on Tuesday that he will likely need to practice at least a few times before being cleared to play against Denver.
The next big news we will now watch for will be him being removed from the PUP list so that he can start practicing. At the earliest that move would likely come next week and it is still unclear whether or not Harrison will be able to suit up for the Steelers final preseason game. Odds are though that he won\’t.
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette said Tuesday morning on 93.7 The Fan that it was his opinion that Harrison would not make it back in time for the season opener. Bouchette added that he thinks Harrison’s recovery will be hindered because he will not be able to hit the weight room as frequently and rigorously as he usually does. Whenever Harrison does return, Bouchette says, “he is not going to come back strong.”
Even if Harrison is ready for Denver, you have to worry about his conditioning level, especially in the high altitude air of Denver. Should he indeed suit up in play, it is hard to imagine him playing the full game and that would mean that either Jason Worilds or Chris Carter would get plenty of playing time at right outside linebacker.
Worilds, like Harrison, remains on the PUP list and there are doubts that he will be ready for the Denver game as well. With both Harrison and Worilds sidelined, Carter as started both of the Steelers preseason games in their absence.