Maurkice Pouncey hoping to bounce back at surgeries


Maurkice Pouncey is hoping 2016 will be his comeback year. He has nowhere to go but up after a nightmare 2015.

The Pittsburgh Steelers center told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler that he underwent seven different procedures on his left leg after suffering a broken fibula during the preseason. He had six surgical procedures and one skin graft before the leg healed to the point that he could move forward with his NFL career.

Pouncey underwent surgery shortly after suffering the injury in an Aug. 23 game against the Packers. He had a setback in October, when the surgical wound didn't close properly and he developed a dangerous staph infection.

"It was scary," Pouncey said. "I don't want that on my worst enemy."

The Steelers had placed Pouncey on short-term injured reserve with the hope of getting back for the season's second half. But behind the scenes, Pouncey was in the fight of his life. Pouncey slept while connected to a PICC line for medicine. He also fought off an E. coli infection. Surgery after surgery failed to fix the issue.

Pouncey didn't blame the Steelers for the setbacks, believing his misfortune couldn't be helped.

"We had to figure out the best plan possible to get it right," he said. "No one really had that many infections like that (around here). ... I blame no one. We're all professionals. I respect this organization for everything they did to get me through this."

Pouncey called the ordeal a "humbling experience" and will spend the weeks leading up to training camp with two-a-day practices in South Florida. After the hell he went through, working on his craft must feel like paradise.