Tuesday, September 11, 2012
James Harrison worked out Monday
ESPN.com news services
PITTSBURGH -- Injured Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison worked out on Monday and coach Mike Tomlin says there's a chance the four-time Pro Bowler could play in Sunday's home opener against the New York Jets.
Harrison sat out the entire preseason while nursing a left knee injury. He underwent a minor procedure on the knee last month and didn't play in a 31-19 season-opening loss at Denver.
Tomlin says Tuesday the team will monitor Harrison's progress throughout the week.
"We will see where he is," Tomlin said, according to the Steelers' official website. "We will follow the same protocol we did with him last week. We will work him up to activity and see how his knee responds to that activity and let that be our guide in terms of his participation."
The Steelers do expect to have safety Ryan Clark back. Clark sat out the Broncos' game as a precaution due to a sickle cell trait that makes it dangerous for him to exert himself at high altitude.
"Obviously, those guys are capable of helping us," Tomlin said of Harrison and Clark. "They're quality veteran players. They know how to play and, specifically in Ryan's case, not only his play but his communication and leadership. That remains to be seen and we're not going to assume anything. What we are going to do is focus on the healthy guys and get them prepared to play and, ultimately, expect them to play on the acceptable level."
The 34-year-old Harrison has grown frustrated by lingering knee issues and has grown so tiresome of the subject he's promised only to address it one day a week during the season.
Harrison called himself a "game-time decision" before the Broncos, but could only watch from the sideline in a yellow T-shirt and black shorts as the Steelers lost in Denver for the second time in nine months.
The Steelers could certainly use him on Sunday against the Jets (1-0). New York exploded for 48 points while whipping Buffalo in its opener even with new acquisition Tim Tebow playing in a limited role. Tebow lit up Pittsburgh while beating the Steelers in the playoffs last winter as quarterback for the Broncos. He's firmly behind starter Mark Sanchez in New York, though Tomlin warned the Jets just showed "the tip of the iceberg" when it comes to their plans for the versatile Tebow this season.
While Harrison remains questionable, Pittsburgh expects right guard Ramon Foster and right tackle Marcus Gilbert to start against New York. Foster left the Denver game with what Tomlin termed an "optical migraine" while Gilbert hyperextended his left knee.
With the starting right side of the line sidelined, the Steelers had trouble running effectively behind replacements Doug Legursky and rookie Mike Adams, who also had serious issues in pass protection while giving up a late sack.
Pittsburgh hasn't started a season 0-2 since 2002, though that didn't stop the Steelers from finishing 10-5-1 and making it to the divisional round of the playoffs. The Steelers haven't even lost consecutive games since a five-game slide in 2009. They pride themselves on their resilience, but will need it against New York.
"This week is very important," running back Jonathan Dwyer said. "Every week is important. The first didn't go as we wanted, but we are going to make sure we put ourselves in a better situation this week than we did last week."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.