Ben Roethlisberger plans to be on the field against the Browns on Sunday when the Steelers have a chance to win the AFC North and earn the No. 2 seed in the conference playoffs.
Roethlisberger sat out the Christmas Eve rout of
the Rams with a high left ankle sprain, an injury incurred in the
previous meeting with Cleveland, Dec. 8. He played the next week, a
Monday night loss at San Francisco, but his lack of mobility and
limited range of motion proved detrimental to the offense.
Head coach Mike Tomlin took the decisino out of
Roethlisberger's hands last week, sitting him in favor of veteran
Charlie Batch. The week of rest made a difference for Roethlisberger,
who said he has only mild soreness after two straight days of practice
"As long as I can deal with pain, I'll be out
there," Roethlisberger said. "I don't want to let the guys down, so
I'll do what I can to be out there."
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Tomlin both
praised Roethlisberger's practice performance this week and said he
looks recovered. Whether he's on the field Sunday isn't as certain to
Arians, who cited concern Roethlisberger won't be able to adequately
move around and dodge oncoming pass rushers.
Batch has taken reps with the first-team offense
and is available to start if Roethlisberger cannot. Batch had 208 yards
passing last week.
The Steelers (11-4) need to beat the Browns but
also pull for the Bengals to defeat the Ravens, who are currently in
first place in the AFC North. If the Steelers and Bengals win,
Pittsburgh earns the No. 2 seed, bye week and home-field in the second
round of the postseason.
--Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was seen working
with the team during the portion of Thursday's practice open to the
media after sitting out Wednesday, according to the Boston Herald.
The Patriots listed the reason for Brady missing
Wednesday's practice as been non-injury related. He's expected to play
against Buffalo on Sunday despite reports indicating he "dinged" his
shoulder against Miami last week. Brady said he has played through
Brady reportedly had X-rays taken Saturday after
his left shoulder was injured on a fall after a quarterback sneak in
the comeback win over the Dolphins on Christmas Eve.
Brady met with media Wednesday and said he wasn't
concerned about his shoulder and his entire focus was on Sunday's game
with the Bills.
--Browns quarterback Colt McCoy spoke publicly for
the first time in the 21 days that have passed since he suffered a
concussion against the Steelers on Dec. 8.
McCoy was injured in a helmet-to-helmet collision
with Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison. The Browns' medical
staff assisted McCoy off the field but, not suspected he was concussed,
allowed McCoy to return to the game. His father, a high school coach in
Texas, criticized the Browns and team doctors saying head-injury
symptoms were blatantly obvious to even casual observers.
"Our medical staff does an outstanding job and
that should never be in question," Colt McCoy said.
--Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo wore a protective
wrap on his swollen right hand as he threw a few soft passes at the
beginning of Thursday's practice, according to the NFL Network.
Romo's bruised hand is still experiencing swelling
after he hit it on the helmet of Eagles defensive end Jason Babin on
Saturday. However, the Cowboys expect him to be able to play in
Sunday's winner-takes-all game at the New York Giants for the NFC East
Romo wasn't wearing the wrap Wednesday, but did
said he was experimenting with potentially wearing a glove.
--Saints rookie running back Mark Ingram was held
out of practice Thursday when he experienced a setback in his recovery
from a turf toe injury, coach Sean Payton said.
Ingram is third on the team in rushing with 474
yards and tied with Pierre Thomas with five rushing touchdowns but he's
likely to miss his sixth game this season after the toe problem flared
up Wednesday. Ingram last played Dec. 4 but left that game against the
Lions with soreness.
--Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb said he needs a
few weeks rest before he'll be fully recovered from a concussion and
will miss a third straight game -- and seventh this season. John Skelton, who is 4-2 as a starter this season, gets his seventh start
Sunday against the Seahawks.
--Packers OT Bryan Bulaga (knee) and TE Jermichael Finley (knee) were back at practice Thursday. Both players were limited
and aren't likely to play Sunday with Green Bay's top seed in the NFC
--Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is
scheduled for surgery Friday to repair torn ligaments in his knee. He
injured his left knee at Washington on Christmas Eve. Dr. James Andrews
will perform the surgery in Alabama. Peterson said he expects to be
fully recovered in time for the Vikings' 2012 season opener but plans
to do his rull rehab and recovery program at home in Texas.
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