Burress reverses field

<b>PITTSBURGH --</b> Earlier this week, Plaxico Burress claimed to be 95 percent healthy and rarin' to go.<br><br> Yesterday, he took himself out of consideration during a conversation with Steelers trainer John Norwig.

"When I'm running full speed and make a little move, I still feel it a little bit," Burress said of his hamstring. "So I said to him, and he said to me, it would probably be best for me to sit out the game."

Burress was downgraded to out for Saturday's game at New York against the Giants. It will be his fourth full game out of the lineup after injuring his hamstring early in the second quarter of the Nov. 21 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Burress believes he'll be back for the Dec. 26 game against the Baltimore Ravens.

"I should be," he said. "Like I said, I feel good running. Running's not the problem. I can run and get up to full speed, but making those moves while I'm running full speed, that kind of scares me to the point to where I don't know what it can take."

What about the 95 percent grade he gave himself Tuesday?

"This is a precautionary measure," Burress said. "I told them last week, if I could get through this week without running full speed, and if I sat out, I would probably be 100 percent come Baltimore. That's been the main thing for me: just get back to 100 percent without taking a setback and hurting myself even more."

The Steelers also downgraded reserve linebacker and special-teams captain Clint Kriewaldt from questionable to out. Kriewaldt also has a hamstring injury, as does running back Duce Staley, who missed his third practice this week. Staley said his playing status will be determined in pre-game warm-ups.

"It's very frustrating," said Staley. "I'm definitely a competitive person. I want to be out there every play. I had a great start. It was tough to miss those games."

Staley rushed for 707 yards in seven games before missing four games with the injury. He returned to start the last two games, but suffered a setback last Sunday against the New York Jets.

"It was really hard for me to warm-up during that game and hard for me to really get my feet up under me," Staley said. "As soon as you think you're OK to go, to take that chance, or mentally to think you're OK, you go out there and take two or three steps back."

Staley said the final determination will be up to Norwig, but said that hamstring injuries are tough to gauge.

"The trainers got a tough job," Staley said. "We all have hamstrings and three of us come in there with three different things. … It's one of those injuries where you get the MRI back and you can see a spot but you really don't know what's going on. So you massage some hamstrings, ice some hamstrings, and with some you've got to add heat. It's a tough situation."

Since Staley's initial injury six games ago, Jerome Bettis gained 555 yards and now has 684 for the season. He has three more carries than Staley, and Bettis' carries figure to increase against the Giants.

Bettis is nine yards shy of No. 5 all-time rusher Curtis Martin and 54 yards shy of becoming the second player in Steelers history to rush for 10,000 yards with the team. Franco Harris rushed for 11,950 yards with the Steelers.

"It's good to have two guys you can plug in and not miss a beat," said Staley. "That's what we do around here."

Joining Burress, Kriewaldt and Staley on the sidelines at practice Thursday were Kendrell Bell, Clark Haggans and Chad Scott, all of whom are scratched from Saturday's game.

Inside linebacker James Farrior was upgraded yesterday to probable.

On the Giants' injury report, defensive tackle Norman Hand, guard Chris Snee, reserve wide receiver Jamaar Taylor and free safety Gibril Wilson were downgraded from doubtful to out.

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