Although the status of outside linebacker James Harrison for the Sunday night opener in Denver is still currently up in the air, backup linebacker Jason Worilds appears to be on track to play.
Worilds, who was removed from the PUP list last week, practiced with the team on Monday for the first time this season. The Steelers former second round draft pick had wrist surgery this offseason and the long wait for him to get back to work was reportedly because he had some atrophy set in during his rehab.
Worilds talked Monday about building back the muscles and now being able to take on blocks.
“I did some of that today, and it felt fine,” Worilds said via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “I\’m excited. Atrophy kind of set me back a little bit and building the muscles back to where I could function. Fortunately, we\’re there now.”
Worilds will be counted on more than ever this year as the Steelers are likely hoping that he can spell LaMarr Woodley and perhaps even Harrison through-out the season. Second year linebacker Chris Carter got extensive work at the right outside spot during training camp and in the preseason, but Worilds would likely still remain the best option there if Harrison is unable to go initially. Worilds has played both sides in his first two seasons since being drafted.
Worilds has had problems during his first two seasons at fighting off nagging injuries, that have caused him to miss games and slow his development. He needs to change that this season and hopefully the wrist injury is completely behind him now.