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Sepulveda on schedule in return from ACL injury

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Posted April 23, 2011 @ 10:39 a.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Steelers P Daniel Sepulveda's recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee — the third time he has suffered such an injury to the same knee — is on schedule, he told PFW this week.

Sepulveda's four-month post-operation checkup with Steelers team doctor James Bradley last week "went well," the punter told PFW. Though Sepulveda, who is left-footed, is about four months away from serious punting, he is able to exercise and feels "very little to nothing when I go and work out," he said.

Sepulveda, 27, was in the midst of perhaps his finest professional season when he suffered the injury on a punt return during Pittsburgh's 13-10 win at Baltimore on Dec. 5. Sepulveda posted a 39.1-yard net average in 2010, a career-high, and only 23 of his 56 punts were returned.

"This is the only one I hurt while I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing," Sepulveda said, laughing.

Sepulveda suffered his first ACL tear in 2006 playing basketball before his senior year at Baylor. The ligament was surgically repaired, and he was able to punt in his final collegiate season. His second ACL tear was discovered in July '08 as he prepared for his second season with the Steelers, who would go on to win Super Bowl XLIII.

His latest injury, like the last one, cost him a chance to punt in a Super Bowl.

"Emotionally, your world gets shocked a little bit," said Sepulveda of his third ACL tear, noting his Christian faith has helped him cope.

Sepulveda, whose contract expired after the 2010 season, would like to remain with the Steelers. 

"They've been very loyal to me. I continue to sense that vibe, and for that I'm very grateful," he said.

Sepulveda said he had not considered whether the Steelers could draft a punter — at the NFL's owners' meetings in March, head coach Mike Tomlin noted that the Steelers "have some options (at punter), and looking at the draft pool is one of them," according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — but he is committed to making the best of whatever happens to him.

"I really am in a good place," Sepulveda said. "I'm not in a situation where I'm thinking 'woe is me' or anything like that."

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