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Keisel working his way into football shape

PITTSBURGH -- Brett Keisel isn’t thinking about his first game even though the Pittsburgh Steelers open the regular season in two weeks.

“I’d like to get a padded practice first and go from there,” he said.

A padded practice will be Keisel’s first step toward getting into the football shape necessary for the veteran defensive end to play significant snaps -- or even start -- Sept. 7 against the visiting Browns.

Keisel re-signed with the Steelers last Wednesday, and coach Mike Tomlin said the 6-6, 285-pounder is in “great shape.” But Keisel acknowledged he has to work himself into a different kind of shape.

“The stop and go, the change of direction, stuff like that: There’s certain things you can do (in training) but really until you play the game, you’re not going to be in the type of shape you need to be to be a good, consistent player,” said Keisel, who took part in the light practice that the Steelers held this past Wednesday, the day before they played the Philadelphia Eagles. “As far as cardio and strength I feel good. It’s just getting back to my technique, making sure I’m playing with good pad level and using my hands right and those types of things that make a good defensive lineman.”

Keisel said he has enough time to get in shape, and he is hoping to get extended playing time Thursday night in the Steelers’ final preseason games against the visiting Carolina Panthers.

“But that’s up to coach (Tomlin), what he wants to do,” Keisel said.

A couple of injury updates:

  • Defensive end Cameron Heyward said he is fine after spraining his ankle in the Steelers’ 31-21 loss to the Eagles this past Thursday. “I can’t talk about it but working towards playing this week,” Heyward said. Linebackers Sean Spence and Jason Worilds each sustained knee injuries in the loss to the Eagles, but neither are believed to be serious. Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Spence won’t need surgery to repair the posterior collateral ligament (PCL) he hurt in his right knee.

  • Lance Moore did not play last Thursday night because of what the veteran wide receiver called “tightness” in his leg. Moore would not specify whether he experienced tightness in his groin or hamstring. “It was kind of a situation where they don’t want to potentially make something worse if they don’t have to,” Moore said of not playing in Philadelphia, “and obviously it was a chance for some of the other guys to get some more time and try to get me back to 100 percent.”