Bell, Burress scratched

<b>PITTSBURGH -</b> During training camp, Kendrell Bell vowed that he would not take medicine this season, that he would instead play through any pain.

Unfortunately for Bell, he hasn't been able to play through the injuries. The latest will knock him out of at least the next three or four games.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' mack inside linebacker, Bell has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins, along with wide receiver Plaxico Burress, cornerback Chad Scott and reserve defensive end Brett Keisel.

Steelers coach Bill Cowher told reporters Tuesday that Bell's injury is not a setback of the sports hernia that kept him out of the first seven games this season. Instead, it's a torn tendon in the groin area.

Cowher said that Keisel "has a very significant hamstring strain. It looks like three to four weeks."

The injury to Burress, however, may have the greatest impact on the Steelers, but he may only miss one game.

"His hamstring is not as serious as Brett Keisel's, but he is out this week," Cowher said. "We're not going to play him this week and then he'll be like Chad, his status will be week-to-week."

Cowher said that Scott is running, but will miss his fifth game with an injured quadriceps muscle. Cowher will begin monitoring Scott's status on a day-to-day basis beginning next week.

Bell limped off the field during last Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. It had been his third game back since recovering from surgery for a sports hernia. If Bell can't come back this season, the prospective free agent may have played his last game with the team.

"We're still in the early stages of trying to look at what the options are," Cowher said. "I cannot rule out surgery, but at this time this is all of the information I have to give you."

In three games, while rotating with Larry Foote, Bell, the 2001 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, has made only 8 tackles, including 2 for loss. Bell also missed most of the 2002 season. His injury then was a high ankle sprain. He returned last year to record 88 tackles and 5 sacks.

Foote is currently fourth on the team in tackles with 39. He also has 3 sacks.

The loss of Burress could leave the Steelers without a deep threat Sunday. The 6-foot-5 receiver has only 32 catches in 10 games, but his 18.8 yards-per-catch averages ranks third in the NFL behind Santana Moss and Lee Evans. He'll be replaced at split end by slot receiver Antwaan Randle El, who has 20 catches and averages 9.9 yards per reception.

The Steelers also have receivers Lee Mays and Sean Morey in reserve, and as expected the team signed another receiver Chris Doering, who caught 18 passes with the Steelers last season.

Cowher was asked if another receiver, such as Hines Ward, would become the deep threat in place of Burress.

"I don't think so," he said. "We're not going to alter what we do. The next guy will step up and we'll move on."

Cowher expects to have running back Duce Staley back at practice Wednesday after he missed the last three games. Staley told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday that his hamstring injury isn't a strain or pull, but instead a bruise from being punched in the back of the leg against the New England Patriots.

Staley is listed as questionable, as are tight end Jay Riemersma (groin), reserve linebacker James Harrison (shoulder) and reserve cornerback Chidi Iwuoma (hamstring).

Harrison and Iwuoma are two of the Steelers' best special-teams players. Cowher was asked what kind of affect the growing injury list has had on the Steelers' special teams.

"Kevin Spencer does a great job of keeping everybody prepared," Cowher said, adding that Ike Taylor will replace Randle El on kickoff returns Sunday.

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