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Injured Steelers linebacker Worilds taking cautious approach

| Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, 11:20 p.m.
Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds was removed from the physically-unable-to perform list. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pittsburgh Steelers' Jason Worilds, left, and Houston Texans' Arian Foster (23) in the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, in Houston. (AP)

Jason Worilds called his offseason wrist surgery simply a “cleanup” and that he expects to be back “soon.” That was more than two months ago.

As the Steelers shifted their training camp from Latrobe to their South Side facilities, there's still no timetable for when the outside linebacker will be back on the field.

“I am still day to day,” Worilds said. “It's going to come sooner or later.”

The Steelers are hoping sooner, especially since the uncertainty of linebacker James Harrison for the season opener after undergoing knee surgery last week.

But Harrison's cranky knee isn't forcing the Steelers to change their plans of bringing along Worilds slowly after having surgery to repair a ligament tear between bones in his left wrist.

Worilds initially was injured early last season but continued to play.

Worilds insisted he hasn't had a setback during his rehab.

“When you are healthy, you play,” he said. “We are just being cautious, and I am taking it one step at a time. Everybody wants to make sure when I go out there I am at full speed.”

Worilds has been relegated to working out with associate strength and conditioning coach Marcel Pastoor while continuing to be on the physically unable to perform list. If Worilds isn't removed from the PUP list by the start of the season, he will miss at least the first six weeks.

“We need to get Jason Worilds back,” linebackers coach Keith Butler said.

Worilds was the Steelers' second-round pick in 2010 out of Virginia Tech. He started six games for the injured LaMarr Woodley and one for James Harrison a season ago as he collected 37 tackles and three sacks without the luxury of an offseason due to the NFL labor dispute.

Butler is concerned that Worilds missed another summer of practices and training camp to continue his development.

“Last year, he really improved during the season, but he needs to build on that,” Butler said. “That's why I'm eager to get him back so he can, hopefully, pick up where he left off because I thought he left off at a pretty good place last year. When he does come back, that gives me confidence about our depth at outside linebacker.”

In the interim, linebacker Chris Carter, who played in eight games last year as a rookie, has reaped the benefits of Worilds' absence.

“My only concern is how quickly I can get better,” Carter said.

“Every day you want to get better, but you don't want it to be a slow process. You want it to happen fast.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mkaboly@tribweb.com

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