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Scorp
01-06-2011, 11:54 AM
Thursday, January 06, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Aaron Smith has spent the past two days on the Steelers' practice field, wearing the same gear as his teammates and going through the same stretches and warmups. It is the first time he has done that since he sustained a torn triceps tendon in his right arm that caused him to miss the past 10 games.

But, soon as his teammates begin team drills and go through a light practice, Smith goes back to doing what he has been doing since late October -- watching.

And that might not change anytime soon, if at all.

Smith's appearance on the practice field has given hope to an imminent return, even for him. But there still are many questions and concerns from all involved -- his teammates, coaches, the organization, even the 6-foot-5, 300-pound defensive end himself -- about whether he can return any time before the Super Bowl, should the Steelers make it that far.

This much is known: Smith will not play when the Steelers open the postseason Jan. 15 in a divisional playoff game at Heinz Field. The earliest he will return is if the Steelers advance to the AFC championship game Jan. 23, though even that possibility is uncertain at this time.

But having him back on the practice field, even for just light conditioning, is a step in that direction.

"When all the information is in, the ultimate decision is up to me," Smith said Wednesday after practice. "I'll hear what everyone has to say and see what their verdict is and make an informed decision at that time."

The Steelers want to give Smith, one of their best and most-beloved players, every opportunity to show he can come back from his injury and play, even if it is in a limited capacity. But, in the end, Smith could end up like former offensive tackle Marvel Smith, who missed the final 10 games of the 2008 regular season and was placed on the injured-reserve list right before the playoffs when it was determined he would not be ready for the postseason.

"If he comes back, I don't want him to come back unless he can play," said defensive end Brett Keisel. "I don't think he should come back if he's 75 percent. He needs to get his body healthy. That's when he'll be most effective."

The Steelers have left open a roster spot for Smith, 33, since he was injured Oct. 24 in Miami. Still, they remain concerned about a recurrence of his existing injury, or even a new injury that might result from three months of game inactivity, if he plays. That would be another major setback for Smith because it would likely sideline him again until training camp.

The Steelers think Smith can play a couple more seasons and they don't want to jeopardize that possibility by having him appear in a limited role in the postseason.

"You don't want to force him back and reinjure it and start this process all over again and miss all the [offseason training]," Keisel said. "You definitely have to be careful."



Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11006/1115954-66.stm#ixzz1AH7Bxq35

K Train
01-06-2011, 01:04 PM
should have IRd him and kept gibson

LatrobePA
01-06-2011, 01:12 PM
should have IRd him and kept gibson

You freaking nailed it there!!

BlitzburghRockCity
01-06-2011, 01:17 PM
Can't blame Tomlin for keeping a roster spot open for him, if he honestly felt he could come back later in the season I think it was worth the risk. Considering how much the defense missed him last year, no one could forsee that we'd be able to bounce back this well against the run without him.

It would nice to have him back, but getting him back at 100% is not going to happen for this years playoff run. I would say he'd at best probably be about 80% IMO.

LatrobePA
01-06-2011, 01:26 PM
I'll get shot but Hood has been making plays and seems to be finding his way a bit better, I honestly think we're fine w/out Smith this year...

K Train
01-06-2011, 01:30 PM
yeah hood has been above less than average the last 2 games....against carolina and the browns.

hopefully he wont be raped in the playoffs against quality opponents

LatrobePA
01-06-2011, 01:55 PM
yeah hood has been above less than average the last 2 games....against carolina and the browns.

hopefully he wont be raped in the playoffs against quality opponents

True, I think he'll be fine (can't believe I'm typing that)!

His swimming spin move for a sack got me thinking he's got more to offer. But we'll see!

K Train
01-06-2011, 02:06 PM
hes a 310 pound edge rusher...doesnt make sense but whatever, as long as hes moderately effective

BlitzburghRockCity
01-06-2011, 02:14 PM
I have to say, like the rest of the Steeler nation, that I've been very impressed with our effectiveness vs the run while Smith has been out. Credit Hood for some of that, Polamalu as well, but in general the entire defense stepping up to fill the void this year. Every year but this one the defense has suffered dramatically without Aaron Smith in there.

pimplydan
01-06-2011, 02:21 PM
Ziggy is coming along really well ,don't get me wrong ,but having Smith on the field in a playoff ambience would help our defence tremendously . Of course, I'm talking about a healthy Aaron Smith .
Playoff experience and leadership is a huge plus . Truely , I beleive the defence can and will get the job done without Smith . Theirs enough experienced leaders on the steelers defence without him .

K Train
01-06-2011, 02:25 PM
i dont want smith playing if hes not healthy and able to go...it would be stupid, hes not in the secondary (our weak spot) and were coming off a run of legendary run defense with powerful pass rush....hood has been serviceable but imo the difference between our run defense without smith this year and our run defense without smith before is that timmons is no longer a pussy against the run

harpo
01-06-2011, 02:29 PM
I'll get shot but Hood has been making plays and seems to be finding his way a bit better, I honestly think we're fine w/out Smith this year...

**Bang!**
**Bang!**
**Bang!**

:lol::nahnah:

Steel Trap86
01-06-2011, 02:36 PM
Damn I thought this extra week off would favor his return, Hood's looked good the last 2 games and we got here without Smith, but it's still a let down cause I thought he'd be practicing by this week

LatrobePA
01-06-2011, 03:47 PM
**Bang!**
**Bang!**
**Bang!**

:lol::nahnah:

There's the smoking gun I was expecting (jerk)! lol :cope::tt02:

Troyisabeast_43
01-06-2011, 04:01 PM
He still might be able to return for the AFC Championship game or the Super Bowl should the Steelers get that far. I would bet that if the Steelers play the Pats in the AFC Championship game Smith would do everything in his power to make sure he plays and gets in there with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line...

cmerrifield
01-06-2011, 04:02 PM
I just dont understand. Smith has had no set backs and they have been "pleased" with his progress, but still not ready to play. Who thought he could play this season still? That Dr. should get beat up.

Troyisabeast_43
01-06-2011, 04:38 PM
I still expect to see him if the Steelers make it to the AFC Championship game. I dont think he will play next week in the divisional round but he still has a good 17 days or so until the AFC Championship game which by then should hopefully have him in game playing shape and ready to get in there...

coach
01-06-2011, 05:32 PM
I think the first game we can live w/o him. His loss is a problem after that. Our secondary needs the front 7 to pressure the QB for us to be successful.


We all want Hood to be successful. Anyway, we are only going as far as Hood and the secondary can take us so I think we are all Ziggy fans right now.

K Train
01-06-2011, 06:05 PM
no im not....but ill deal with it.

the team is leading or close to leading the league in sacks....so im ok with the front 7 play so far, gay has proved to be a tremendous blitzer from the nickel slot and timmons has really stepped his **** up

harpo
01-07-2011, 07:58 AM
There's the smoking gun I was expecting (jerk)! lol :cope::tt02:

I was just messin' with you. :lol:

UKSTEELER
01-07-2011, 08:43 AM
I don't see him surfacing until the Superbowl, . . . . let's hope we can make it there for him!

Even Kiesel says he needs to be 100% or nothing.

Go Steelers!

LatrobePA
01-07-2011, 08:49 AM
I was just messin' with you. :lol:

I know:yellowthumb:

coldrolled
01-07-2011, 08:50 AM
no im not....but ill deal with it.

the team is leading or close to leading the league in sacks....so im ok with the front 7 play so far, gay has proved to be a tremendous blitzer from the nickel slot and timmons has really stepped his **** up

Will Hood or Smith help stop Brady's short passes?

Troy/Gay blitzing and an up the middle assortment of blitz packages will be Brady's enemy...

Does Smith or Hood help in these up the middle blitzes? I say Smith helps here. But Hood is looking strong and aggresive too..

Im still waiting for Farrior to be relieved by Sylvester for some quicker up the middle blitzing from the ILB position. but that will come maybe next year after farrior retires. i think this is farriors last year, thats why i wish sylvester would get some time in at ILB now.