Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Mike Wallace hasn’t been the only big named Steelers player that hasn’t taken part in training camp so far, as linebacker James Harrison also hasn’t yet joined his teammates on the field in Latrobe.
To Harrison’s credit, at least he is there with his teammates, but it could be a while longer before we see No. 92 on the field.
According to a report from his agent Bill Parise in the Beaver County Times, Harrison could be looking at arthroscopic knee surgery that could keep him out an additional couple of weeks.
Both the Steelers and Harrison still expect the former Defensive Player of the Year to be ready for the Sept. 9 opener against the Broncos in Denver and that hasn’t changed with the news of the possible surgery, but it is still a setback.
Harrison, 34, has dealt with an inflamed knee since minicamp this spring and has been on the PUP list for more than two weeks. Parise says, the Steelers plan to remove Harrison from the physically unable to perform list in the next two weeks. If the swelling in his knee continues after he practices on the field, he will be shut down to undergo the procedure.
“With the exception of this little knee thing, James is probably healthier now than he’s been in three years,” Parise told the newspaper. “He’s extremely fit. He just has to get this irritation behind his kneecap cleared up. That’s what’s causing the swelling, and (the Steelers) just want to get rid of that. … We’ll just have to wait (and) see how it plays out.”
During camp so far, Harrison has been a hard man to find. While other Steelers who’ve been on the PUP list have been going through conditioning drills in one corner of the practice complex at St. Vincent College, Harrison has rarely joined them.
That doesn’t concern Parise though, who insists that Harrison will be fine.
“He’s OK. We’re just trying to make sure that we have the player we want for the regular season,” Parise said. “Right now, James is doing all right. He’s just working through the process. If you see him, he’s probably as fit as he’s ever been. He looks great. His attitude is great. Right now, it’s just a matter of him getting that knee better.
“At this time, James is looking to play in the opener. We all think James will play in the opener.”
Harrison, who missed only one game up until 2010, missed four last season and is not off to a good start being healthy this year. He is also the Steelers’ biggest salary cap hit this season at $9.030 million, which includes his pro-rated signing contract and bonus money.
In the meantime, second-year pro Chris Carter has been running with the first-team defense in Harrison’s spot.
Only time will tell if Harrison will be in uniform for the regular season opener, but it is a fair question to ask if he will be in football shape even if he is. It’s fair to have serious doubts about that and the news keep on getting worse.