Bad Luck Or Bad Conditioning? Art Rooney II Says He Will Look Into It As It Relates To Injuries

Some new quotes have emerged from the year-end talk that Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II had with members of the Pittsburgh media last week concerning injuries suffered this past season and training.

“I do think it’s something that comes in cycles,” said Rooney about injuries, per the Steelers official website. “I remember sitting there a few years ago and looking at the Colts, who had like 15 guys on injured reserve, and I was thinking, ‘I’m glad that’s not us.’

“It does happen sort of in cycles, and hopefully we’re getting through this cycle. But having said that I don’t think we can just sit here and believe we’ll come to the end of the cycle. We have to look at everything we’re doing, and we will look at everything we’re doing, from the training and conditioning side of things, from a practice side of things and see if there are things we can do to get better.”

As you can see in the chart below that I complied, the Steelers lost 128 games from 28 players due to injuries last season. Keep in mind that the list includes linebacker Sean Spence and David Johnson as both were lost for the season with knee injuries prior to it even beginning.

As you can see by the injuries listed next to each player, there were several games lost mostly to knee and ankle injuries as opposed to hamstring and quad type injuries, which could be viewed as poor conditioning. That being said, Rooney told the media that he intends to not only look into the new CBA rules regarding conditioning, but how players train in the offseason on their own time in addition.

“The trainers will tell you that conditioning-related injuries are muscle pulls and strains and those kinds of things,” said Rooney. “Concussions or breaking bones, conditioning is not going to help that stuff. We do have to look at the kinds of things where conditioning could make a difference.”

John Norwig, the Steelers Head Athletic Trainer, will certainly be the one that Rooney and others will turn to as it relates to injuries, which have now seemed to plague the team for three seasons straight, but judging by the kind of injuries suffered this past season, it might come back to just being bad luck.

Now of course several will point to players like linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who really didn\’t seem to be healthy or in shape all season, as to why the training staff might be failing the team, but the players have to take responsibility for their own actions, or lack thereof, as well. A trainer can give a player the best advice possible as far as an offseason program goes, but it is up to the player to carry it out properly. You can lead a horse to water…

Several players pay good money to reputable trainers during the offseason to push them and keep them in shape. For instance, cornerback Ike Taylor has worked out now for several offseasons with renowned trainer Tom Shaw down in Florida and shows up every year for training camp in tip-top shape. That still didn\’t prevent the injury bug from biting him this season, and the same goes for wide receiver Antonio Brown, who works out down in Florida at Bommarito Performance Systems alongside linebacker Lawrence Timmons. Brown was lost for three games in 2012 with a high ankle sprain suffered early in the win over the New York Giants.

What about the offensive linemen lost once again? Are they too heavy, and do they lack athleticism and the ability to keep their feet better as a result? Did the blocking scheme or technique that they used play a part in their injuries? Well, for starters, Willie Colon was submarined by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs in the first meeting between the two teams and that likely resulted in him finally being placed on injured reserve after his knee finally gave out. He had problems with that knee building up with fluid for a few weeks. Did the Steelers allow him to come back too soon?

Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert, David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey were all injured while pass protecting. Outside of putting a beeper on Gilbert it is hard to see how the injuries that those four players suffered could have been prevented.

Perhaps the Steelers might need to look into sacrificing a few chickens each week. Hey, it couldn\’t hurt as long as the players are only allowed to eat said chickens baked versus fried.

Steelers Players Games Lost To Injury In 2012

Sean Spence 16 Knee
David Johnson 16 Knee
David DeCastro 11 Knee
Marcus Gilbert 11 Ankle
Troy Polamalu 9 Calf
Chris Carter 8 Abdomen
Rashard Mendenhall 7 Knee/Achilles
Mike Adams 6 Ankle
Stevenson Sylvester 6 Knee
Willie Colon 5 Knee
Ike Taylor 4 Ankle
Antonio Brown 3 Ankle
James Harrison 3 Knee
Ben Roethlisberger 3 Shoulder/Ribs
LaMarr Woodley 3 Ankle/Hamstring
Jerricho Cotchery 2 Ribs
Byron Leftwich 2 Ribs
Isaac Redman 2 Ankle
DeMarcus Van Dyke 2 Shoulder
Cortez Allen 1 Groin
Baron Batch 1 Arm
Curtis Brown 1 Knee
Jonathan Dwyer 1 Quad
Brandon Johnson 1 Hamstring
Marshall McFadden 1 Abdomen
Heath Miller 1 Knee
Maurkice Pouncey 1 Knee
Mike Wallace 1 Vagina
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