By all accounts, Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Zach Banner should be ready to resume practicing fully by the start of training camp in July. On Thursday, Banner pretty much confirmed that notion again during his media season after the team’s OTA practice. He was first asked, however, what all he’s being allowed to do at this point in his rehab now that OTA practices are underway.
“I would have to say the reps, right? Like the amount of times I’m coming out of a three-point stance, the different types of things that I’m doing,” Banner said. “There’s a checklist that none of you have, but I have that Coach Gie [Garrett Giemont] has, that Coach Tomlin and all the coaches. That checklist we’ve been just knocking them off, knocking them off. So, I’m not going out there doing 50 reps right now. You know, if anything, today with the guys, I actually only got one to two, but I’m off on the side working myself.
“And I remember the first time we got into this a couple of weeks ago, into actual football stuff and cutting and lateral change of direction, I did like 35 pass sets a couple of weeks ago. I’ve done way more in a day since then. “But you know, Coach Gie pulls me aside and says, that’s hopefully a game. You know what I mean? That’s a game of pass sets. That’s a realistic look. So, they’re so detailed.”
Banner, who suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during the team’s Week 1 game last season against the New York Giants, confirmed on Thursday that his rehab resembles that of former Steelers tight end Heath Miller several years ago. Miller, in case you forgot, suffered an ACL tear in Week 16 of the 2012 season and he was able to return to action in Week 3 of the 2013 season, which was less than nine months from his injury occurred.
“They know what they’re doing,” Banner said of the Steelers training and medical staff. “They’ve done this with amazing players in the past like Heath Miller. I know Heath Miller, a lot of his notes and stuff like that, are in my rehab and you guys saw how tremendous he was when he got back. So, you know, the future looks bright.”
The future does indeed look bright for Banner and he was asked specifically about that future again on Thursday and if he thinks he’ll certainly be ready to go for the start of training camp in late July.
“I really do,” Banner said. “And you know, one thing to communicate to you guys is, remember that leash, that they keep pulling that. So, if you see me out there, the days I do have a brace, that’s more to break in my brace when I do get going, because these things feel like robo knees and they feel a little different. Not my knee itself, but the brace. So, we really want to work that brace. But as for my rehab, and as for [Devin] Bush’s rehab, we’re on schedule.”