James Harrison might need knee surgery

August, 15, 2012
8/15/12
8:51
AM ET
Steelers linebacker James Harrison might need to have surgery if the swelling continues in his injured left knee, his agent told the Beaver County Times.

This is unusual timing to consider surgery because it could put his availability for the season opener in jeopardy. The biggest question is why Harrison didn't have this surgery sooner. He has dealt with an inflamed knee since minicamps this spring and has been on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list for over two weeks. If he had this surgery in May, there would be no concern about him being on the field to chase down Peyton Manning in Week 1.

Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, believes Harrison could still be ready for the Sept. 9 opener if the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year has to have arthroscopic surgery, but his timetable seems to be very optimistic. According to Parise, the Steelers plan to remove Harrison from the PUP in the next two weeks and see how the knee reacts. If swelling continues, Harrison will be shut down to undergo the procedure. While Parise thinks Harrison could return a week after the surgery, it could be tough for the 34-year-old Harrison to be ready to play after not participating in training camp.

“With the exception of this little knee thing, James is probably healthier now that he’s been in three years,” Parise told the paper. “He’s extremely fit. He just has to get this irritation behind his knee cap cleared up. That’s what’s causing the swelling, and (the Steelers) just want to get rid of that.

“So we might even look at doing a scope of that to get it cleaned up. We’ll just have to wait [and] see how it plays out.”

No one questions Harrison's toughness and passion for the game. He missed only one game from 2007 to 2010, and he plays with an old-school style that often gets him in trouble with the NFL. But this lingering issue with his knee makes you question his availability for the opener and his effectiveness for the season.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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