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Sprained MCL keeps Steelers' Pouncey off field

| Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, 2:26 p.m.
The Steelers' Marcus Gilbert blocks the Eagles' Kurt Coleman for running back Rashard Mendenhall on the final drive of the game at Heinz Field Oct. 7, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey earned All-Pro honors for the third consecutive season. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey isn't concerned about the specifics of his knee injury or when he will get back on the field.

Pouncey follows one rule when it comes to figuring out when he's ready to return from an injury: “If I can push guys up out of there, I am going to go.”

He's not there yet.

A week after spraining his right medial collateral ligament, Pouncey is improving slowly but still nowhere close to pushing defenders “up out of there.”

Pouncey is holding out hope he can play Sunday night in Cincinnati.

“Every day it is getting better,” he said.

Pouncey walked with a pronounced limp Monday but was able to move around the practice facility Wednesday without any notice of a knee injury.

“It is going to take a couple weeks before it gets all the way healthy,” Pouncey said. “Right now I am just taking it day to day.”

Pouncey didn't practice but tested his knee by running in the pool. Pouncey was fitted for a knee brace and plans to test his knee on the field Thursday.

“We'll see what happens as the week progresses, but the plan now is to take it day to day and hope for the best,” Pouncey said. “I'm doing everything I can to get ready to play.”

The injury occurred on the first snap of last week's game against Tennessee. Tackle Marcus Gilbert was knocked to the ground by Kamerion Wimbley and into the back of Pouncey's legs.

“It kind of stinks that it happened to me, but you have to fight through it and not let an injury pull me down,” Pouncey said.

Pouncey has missed 29 percent of the offensive snaps since injuring his ankle in the AFC Championship Game his rookie season of 2010. Before that, he had played in 96 percent of the team's offensive snaps, sitting out only the ends of blowouts.

During his two-plus years in the NFL, Pouncey has missed four full games and parts of six others.

“I want to get out there as much as the next guy, but I don't want to rush it back and have a setback,” Pouncey said. “I want to be smart about it. I always want to play. If I am going to go, then I am going to go.”

In other news, Gilbert could miss up to two months with a right ankle injury suffered during last week's loss to Tennessee, according to Pouncey.

“He's going to miss a significant amount of time, maybe up to six weeks,” Pouney said. “I don't think it's anything that is season-ending, but we've got to give him time to heal and get his body right.”

Gilbert, who has been wearing a protective boot on his right foot, flew to Charlotte, N.C., on Monday to consult a specialist.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Gilbert has a tendon injury in his ankle that does not require surgery.

Rookie second-round pick Mike Adams will start in place of Gilbert.

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