The only similarity between the end of the last two Steelers seasons is that center Maurkice Pouncey wasn’t on the field either time.
A sprained ankle against the Jets in the AFC Championship Game in January 2011 caused Pouncey to miss the Super Bowl loss to the Packers. The ankle never really healed during the offseason, leading to a year of trouble for Pouncey that ended with him on the sideline for the playoff loss to the Broncos this year.
“I came back and it wasn’t healthy,” Pouncey said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I played through it. At the end of the season last year it got too weak and I needed the surgery.”
Having surgery didn’t keep Pouncey from taking part in offseason work with the team and he says now that the ankle feels “awesome.” The Steelers feel that the operation did more than just repair the problem, they feel that it will make Pouncey less likely to sprain his ankle in the future as well.
That would be a plus for the Steelers this season as they will likely have two rookies starting on an offensive line that’s being counted on to be better in 2012 than it was last season. A healthy Pouncey is a good foundation to use toward that goal.