By Dr. Maria Simbra, Health Editor

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Maurkice Pouncey has a high ankle sprain, an injury not unheard of in Pittsburgh.

“I think everybody’s concerned, because it’s recent that Sidney Crosby had his high ankle sprain, and we all know that he was out for I don’t know how long, but it was more than a month. So everybody’s concerned about that. But everybody’s different.”

A high ankle sprain involves the tissue connecting the two bones of the leg, a bit higher up than the ankle itself.

The immediate concern was that perhaps it was far worse.

“I was really concerned. I was concerned as everyone else was that it was worse than a sprain, that it was a broken ankle,” Dr. Tucker continues.

Pouncey’s prior sprain is in his favor.

“The ligament’s already been torn, so the amount of additional damage that’s done to the ankle is actually less, therefore there’s less swelling, there’s less pain, and the recovery to where they were before is that much faster,” he explains.

Typical recovery to competition level can be anywhere from three weeks to two months. But with intensive therapy to decrease inflammation and decrease weight bearing while maintaining range of motion, elite athletes can get back on the field in much less time as long as they don’t do anything on their own to mess it up.

“Usually I can get a kid back in a week, maybe two weeks at most, depending on the severity of it. Usually it’s a pretty short time frame, especially with ankles. And also just the cooperation at home,” says chiropractor Dr. Caleb Barnard of Pittsburgh Chiropractic & Sports Therapy.

“Pouncey is an incredible athlete, who at 50 percent is probably better than many centers at 100 percent,” Dr. Tucker believes. “Again, I wouldn’t count him out for the game, on the one hand. On the other, I think the preparation for an alternative is certainly wise.”

Apparently a teammate says he’s out for the big game, and there are reports Pouncey is in a cast. Dr. Tucker says the types of casts they use for this kind of thing are often to keep the player off crutches. It’s a potentially negative development, but he would rather hear the official word from the team.