Parker may miss Colts game

PITTSBURGH – The Indianapolis Colts have finished in the top three in scoring each of the last five years, so it's obvious the Pittsburgh Steelers will need all of their firepower to keep up on Sunday. Yet ...

... standing on the sidelines yesterday, out with injuries, were Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Willie Parker, Heath Miller and Marvel Smith.

Those just might be the Steelers' five best offensive players, but it's possible that a majority of them will miss the game. And yet …

"We're still going to win," said Parker.

Parker appreciates the Steelers' depth, particularly at running back where Mewelde Moore could start once again in place of Parker, who injured his shoulder in the third quarter Monday night.

"I played through it," Parker said. "It wasn't anything serious, but I was sore the next day, though."

Parker's still sore and will learn his fate for Sunday's game on Friday. Team officials aren't optimistic.

"Right now, this team isn't getting any breaks, man. It's crazy," Parker said.

Parker missed four games with a knee sprain before returning Monday night to carry 21 times for 70 yards against the Washington Redskins. After the game, he said he was going to meet with Coach Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to discuss getting back to "Steelers football" and its emphasis on the power running game. But Parker hasn't met with the coaches.

"Not yet," he said. "It's hard when you're banged up."

The Steelers are, in fact, banged up. One offensive player who's been ruled out is tight end Heath Miller with a high ankle sprain. Left tackle Marvel Smith is expected to miss the game with continuing back problems. Roethlisberger will try to practice Friday with his sore right shoulder. Ward has a sore shoulder, but should play Sunday. Also hurting on the offensive side of the ball is No. 2 tight end Matt Spaeth, who'll play with a cast on his broken right hand.

The cause of Parker's optimism?

Well, Moore's averaging 4.6 yards per carry; Byron Leftwich gets rid of the ball quicker than Roethlisberger in this duck-and-chuck offense; and Miller has become more of a blocker, meaning Arians may be forced to use more of fullback Carey Davis and lean on a power running game.

"We've got people who can step in," Parker said. "We are a team and we've always got somebody. We'll be all right."


Aside from the aforementioned offensive players, missing Thursday's practice for the Steelers were RB Najeh Davenport (hamstring), CB Bryant McFadden (forearm), and LB LaMarr Woodley (calf). Woodley is expected to play; McFadden is out.

Missing practice for the Colts on Thursday were starting RT Ryan Diem (ankle), WR Roy Hall (knee), starting CB Kelvin Hayden (hamstring), starting SS Bob Sanders (not injury related), and TE Tom Santi (shoulder).


Because of the injuries to Parker and Davenport, the Steelers re-signed running back Justin Vincent to their practice squad and released WR/RS Jayson Foster.


Phil Simms, who'll team with Jim Nantz to call the game for CBS Sunday at 4:15 p.m., had high praise for one particular position group with the Steelers.

"What hits me since I have watched the Steelers, and I covered them since I've been in the television business since 1995, is the linebackers," Simms said. "This might be the best group of linebackers I have ever seen with the Steelers, and that is saying a lot with all the ones I've covered. This current group can do it all. There are five of them and they just rotate. You know the Steelers defense is built around their linebackers, but they have exceeded everything you could hope for from a group on the defensive side. I mean, blitzing, covering, running plays down from behind, having the strength to take it on when it comes right at you. It's fun to watch."

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