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Aching elbow pains Steelers' Hampton

| Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, 7:56 p.m.
Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton looks on during practice on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, on the South Side. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

Fewer than seven months removed from having his ACL surgically repaired, Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton is confident his knee will be fine for the opener Sept. 9 in Denver.

His elbow is another story.

Hampton dealt with left elbow pain since last year before finally having it “fixed” a couple of weeks ago.

“It's been bothering me for a while,” Hampton said. “It was something that was nagging that just didn't go away, and I had to take care of it.”

Hampton would not say definitively if he underwent surgery to repair his elbow but strongly hinted that he did.

“You are getting in grown folks business now,” Hampton said with a chuckle when asked if he had surgery. “I just got the elbow fixed, so I have to let it heal up and let it get right.”

Hampton was removed from the physically-unable-to-perform list Friday and practiced for the first time since injuring his knee during the Steelers' wild-card playoff loss Jan. 8 in Denver.

Three weeks later, Hampton had his third ACL surgery and second in seven years.

“I am not worried about my knee at all,” Hampton said.

Hampton hasn't fully participated in workouts yet, going through only the individual portions of practices. Hampton had his elbow significantly padded through the parts of practice in which he participated, but according to fellow nose tackle Steve McLendon, it didn't limit Hampton.

“He was hitting today,” McLendon said. “He looks real good. He still has that power because when he hit me, he knocked me back. Casey is really a dominant force.”

Hampton said that the only issue he has with his elbow is pain.

“It is just a matter of how much pain you can take and how much you can tolerate it,” Hampton said. “My pain threshold is pretty high, so I'll be all right.”

Hampton played in 13 games last year, collecting 32 tackles. He sat out a three-game stretch in October because of a shoulder injury but returned to start the final 10 games, including playoffs.

With the emergence of McLendon, the Steelers have the luxury of easing Hampton back into the starting lineup.

Hampton is OK with that.

“I am pretty sure that I am not going to be in the best shape when I get back,” Hampton said.

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

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