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Steelers veteran nose tackle Hampton will avoid surgery

| Friday, Jan. 13, 2012

An ACL injury that Casey Hampton suffered last Sunday will not require surgery at this time, something that helps in regard to the veteran nose tackle's future with the Steelers.

Hampton, who got hurt in the Steelers' 29-23 overtime loss to Denver in an AFC wild-card playoff game, will try to work his way back from the knee injury with a combination of rest and treatment.

Hampton just completed his 11th season with the team, and there is no guarantee the five-time Pro Bowler will return in 2012, even if his knee isn't an issue. He is set to make about $5 million this season.

Hampton is going into the final year of the three-year, $21.2 million deal he signed in February of 2010. The Steelers, who are more than $20 million over the projected salary cap in 2012, could save close to $5 million by releasing the 33-year-old Hampton. They could also try to restructure Hampton's contract.

The 6-foot-1, 325-pound Hampton has been a vital piece in Dick LeBeau's 3-4 defense. His ability to clog the middle and occupy blockers is why the Steelers have consistently been among the NFL's top rushing defenses.

The Steelers were No. 8 against the run this season (99.8 yards allowed per game).

Surgery for Pouncey, Legursky

Maurkice Pouncey underwent surgery on his left ankle Thursday, the All-Pro center said on his Twitter account. Guard Doug Legursky wrote on his Twitter page that he is scheduled to have shoulder surgery today.

Pouncey missed three of the Steelers' last four games, including the loss to Denver, because of his second high ankle-sprain since his rookie year. Pouncey first sprained his left ankle last January, forcing him to miss the Super Bowl.

Legursky hurt his shoulder in the Steelers' 27-0 win over St. Louis on Dec. 24. He did not play the following week but started at center against the Broncos.

Legursky is one of the Steelers' seven restricted free agents.

Powering up

Opposing defensive players that did not enjoy trying to tackle Isaac Redman probably won't like to hear what the bruising running back discussed with Steelers conditioning coordinator Garrett Giemont.

"I talked to him about working on power, because when you work on power, it brings speed," Redman said. "That's the main thing I'm trying to work on."

Redman rushed for 215 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers' last two games. He took over as a feature back in the regular-season finale, after Rashard Mendenhall went down with a torn ACL.

In his second NFL start, Redman rushed for 121 yards on 17 carries against the Broncos.

"If I didn't perform at a high level, that would have shocked me," Redman said. "I have all the confidence in the world when I step out on the field."

A helping hand

Wide receiver Mike Wallace and cornerback Keenan Lewis grew up together in New Orleans, and Lewis plans on helping his childhood friend get ready for the Pro Bowl while the two are home.

Does that mean that Wallace, who will start for the AFC Pro Bowl team, will pay Lewis back by taking him to Hawaii at the end of the month?

"He should take me," Lewis said with a grin, "but I'm also going to show my support and help him out."

Steelers quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner is among those that Ben Roethlisberger is taking to Hawaii as his guest.

Polamalu wins fine

Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu won his appeal of a $10,000 fine for using a cell phone on the sidelines during a game Oct. 16 against Jacksonville, according to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora.

Polamalu borrowed the phone from a team doctor after leaving the Jaguars game with concussion-like symptoms and called his wife to tell her he was OK.

The NFL prohibits the possession of cell phones in teams' bench areas 90 minutes before kickoff until the end of games.

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