PIT]TSBURGH -- Maurice Pouncey can't seem to catch a break.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' All-Pro Center recently underwent a second surgery on the injured left fibula that forced him to be placed on short-term Injured Reserve.
The Post-Gazette reported the second surgery was due to an infection that forced the removal of the metal plate which had been installed during the initial surgery. The P-G reported that Pouncey "will probably miss the rest of the season."
Pouncey is eligible to play in Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders but now may have to wait for a potential playoff appearance to return.
Pouncey, of course, missed the Super Bowl his rookie season after he was injured in the 2010 AFC Championship Game.
Pouncey also missed the 2013 season after being injured in the first series of the opener.
Pouncey was injured this year in the second preseason game. He's been replaced by Cody Wallace, who started slowly Monday night but came on strong.
"I think he’s done a terrific job but I'm not surprised by it," said offensive coordinator Todd Haley. "I love the way he goes about his business. You just have to look for the last guy hitting after the whistle and it’s usually him."
Missing Thursday's practice was safety Will Allen (ankle).
Limited in practice were ILB Ryan Shazier (shoulder), CB Cortez Allen (knee), OLB Jarvis Jones (hip) and QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee).
Replacing Will Allen at strong safety Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals will be special-teams captain Robert Golden.
"If I trusted anybody to be ready on this defense, it would be Robert," said defensive coordinator Keith Butler. "He studies the game. He works at his craft. He’s a very smart football player, very good above the neck. He doesn’t get out of position a lot. I’m very comfortable with him."
NOT JUST ANOTHER GAME
Bruce Arians, of course, didn't have his contract renewed by the Steelers following the 2011 season and is returning to Heinz Field on Sunday as the coach of the 4-1 Cardinals, who lead the NFL in scoring.
Arians has downplayed the return but his old friend Butler knows better. He was asked if Arians is still bitter.
"I can't tell you his mind but I got a pretty good guess," Butler said. "Yeah. Sure he is. He might say it's just another game but it's not.
"He's a good coach. He's a good friend of mine. It's like playing your brother. You don't want to lose to your brother."
SIDE JUDGE SUSPENDED
The NFL on Thursday suspended the side judge responsible for monitoring the clock, which ran off 18 seconds during a touchback prior to the Steelers' final drive Monday night in San Diego.
The official, Rob Vernatchi, won't officiate a game this weekend. The NFL added in a statement that "the mistake will also impact the evaluation of the other six members of the officiating crew, led by referee Pete Morelli."
The status of the clock operator in San Diego, also an NFL employee, is under review.
TALE OF TWO PLAYS
On offense, the Play of the Game was obvious -- Le'Veon Bell's one-yard walk-off touchdown. Here's what Haley said about it:
"It’s a testament to Coach (Mike) Tomlin. Before that game, he came up to me saying, 'Let it all hang out. Let’s play to win.' And he backs it up. A lot of people say all that stuff before the game starts but don’t back it up. But he backs it up. As I was calling plays, I wasn’t thinking anything. As long as he was giving me plays to call, we were trying to score."
On defense, one of the more underappreciated Plays of the Game may have been the Chargers' last offensive play, when Lawrence Timmons batted down a Philip Rivers pass intended for Keenan Allen after cornerback Ross Cockrell had been knocked to the ground by a pick. The wide-open Allen threw his hands into the air in anguish after the ball was batted and the Chargers were forced to settle for the field goal.
"He's off to the races," said Cameron Heyward. "I don't know if it's a touchdown, because we're running to the ball, but he's got a headstart on a lot of guys."