Imagine a Steelers offensive lineman wheeling his way around Ben Roethlisberger’s wedding reception at the Convention Center last month.
It almost happened for two reasons: Chris Kemoeatu wasn’t going to miss the wedding of one of his closest friends on the team, and Chris Kemoeatu couldn’t walk leading up to Pittsburgh’s most anticipated nuptials in recent memory.
“It was something I had to make it to,” the Steelers’ starting left guard said of Roethlisberger’s July 23 wedding, “even if I had to wheelchair over to it.”
Fortunately for Kemoeatu the extreme knee swelling that had left him bedridden for a stretch in July subsided enough for him to attend the wedding without the aid of a wheelchair or crutch.
The problem that Kemoeatu said was a result of training while in Salt Lake City -– he essentially overdid it in anticipation of the start of training camp -– has sidelined him for much of camp.
Arthritis and loose bone fragments led to the swelling, said Kemoeatu, who had been working out at the University of Utah when his knee became an issue.
“I probably should have just went to the doctor but I thought it was just fluid so I kind of didn’t pay any attention to it,” Kemoeatu said. “I just iced it and then it got to a point where I couldn’t walk on it because it was so swollen.”
The Steelers doctors were allowed to examine Kemoeatu after the lockout ended, and they recommended rehab rather than surgery.
The 6-3, 344-pounder has been doing some light running since early in camp, and he anticipates coming off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list as early as Sunday.
Kemoeatu said he plans to ease his way back into practice and see how his knee handles individual drills before doing everything.
“It’s coming along,” Kemoeatu said of his injury. “I think I’ll be fine.”
– Scott Brown