Injuries have plagued the Pittsburgh Steelers since the latter part of the 2011 season, and this is something that the Steelers haven’t been able to shake since.
The chances of linebacker James Harrison playing in Pittsburgh’s Week 2 matchup against the New York Jets are not good. For virtually the first two weeks of the regular season, Harrison has not practiced with the team due to his injured left knee.
Second-year linebacker Chris Carter will start if Harrison is unable to play.
The Pro Bowl linebacker had arthroscopic surgery in August, but the knee hasn’t responded positively since the procedure.
Safety Troy Polamalu sat out of practice the last two days due to a calf injury that was sustained in the Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos. Although no one has come forward with the progress of Polamalu’s injury, I think that head coach Mike Tomlin is holding him out of practice just for precautionary reasons, and will play versus the Jets.
Harrison’s absence from Pittsburgh’s front seven will be greatly missed. The Steelers struggled in the season opener to get pressure on Denver’s Peyton Manning, and might find it just as difficult getting past New York’s D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, and the rest of the Jets’ offensive line.
In addition to Harrison’s expected absence, linebacker Stevenson Sylvester isn’t expected to play due to his injured MCL.
Obviously, Harrison’s injury is more severe than originally indicated. On a brighter note, it seems as if the Steelers’ bye week couldn’t have come at a better time this season. If by chance Harrison doesn’t play this week or next week, then the Week 4 bye will greatly benefit him, as well as Sylvester and running back Rashard Mendenhall.
This will give Pittsburgh’s wounded much needed time to get ready for the long haul that follows.
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