Steelers' Aaron Smith Reportedly Won't Be Ready Until Super Bowl
A source told LaCanfora that Smith's recovery will likely not allow him to play until the Super Bowl, which is still 24 days away. Smith has been practicing very lightly this week and he's been lifting weights for weeks, but he's yet to show that he's close enough to 100 percent for the Steelers to feel comfortable turning him loose. Steelers beat writers have also suggested that the Steelers will not risk a serious setback to get Smith back on the field, because they want to have him healthy for the 2011 season as well.
The Steelers decided to not place Smith on injured reserve because of the veteran's value to the team. When healthy, he's the team's best defensive lineman, but the team has handled his absence pretty well -- they led the NFL in run defense this season thanks to the solid play of Ziggy Hood and Nick Eason, Smith's replacements.
While LaCanfora is saying Smith will miss at least two more games, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that their is a slight chance he could play this weekend. Smith will have an MRI on Friday that will help determine how his recovery is going.
Pittsburgh does have experience with an unlikely recovery. Back in 1995, cornerback Rod Woodson tore his ACL in the season opener, but he managed to convince coach Bill Cowher to leave him on the active roster. With a speedy recovery, Woodson returned to action in the Super Bowl where he played well as a nickel back. It was the first time an NFL player had returned to action in the same season he had torn his ACL.
Of course, Pittsburgh still has a couple of very healthy challenges to overcome to get to the Super Bowl, starting with Saturday's game with the Ravens.