May 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) stretches during organized team activities at the Steelers training facility. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be making preparations for life without linebacker James Harrison, at least for the team's season opener against the Denver Broncos on September 9th as Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes.
While arthroscopic knee surgery may not limit Harrison’s regular season playing time too extensively, Harrison’s timeframe on getting his knee back to full strength is the bigger question. A knee injury can be especially rough on a linebacker. As an outside rusher, Harrison depends on his knee as a crucial part of his explosiveness off the edge. Harrison is also viewed as a leader on the field, and his absence is certainly a blow to the team in that regard. To make matters worse for Pittsburgh, their No. 3 linebacker behind Harrison, Jason Worilds, is currently on the PUP list as well.
And there's more: The Steelers may be left with two healthy running backs - rookie Chris Rainey and Baron Batch - as Isaac Redman has an MRI scheduled for a nagging groin injury that he's battled throughout training camp. With Rashard Mendenhall more than likely starting the regular season on the PUP list, the Steelers have a tough road ahead of them as they sort out their backfield woes.
Regardless of the lack of information on James Harrison’s recovery timeframe and Isaac Redman's overall health, it sounds as if the Bengals will be facing Harrison on October 21st.