PITTSBURGH – Same story, different name in Thursday’s edition of High Ankle Sprain Times.
The bad news involved the injured ankle of Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who didn’t practice Thursday and is worried he won’t be able to play Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
“I’m sore,” said Pouncey, who was uncharacteristically downbeat about the injury.
“My ankle’s not feeling right. [Wednesday] I went through practice and I got sore at the end. I couldn’t make it through and I didn’t feel good this morning. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out for the game. I’ll see. It sucks, man. This [stuff] is aggravating.”
Pouncey injured the same ankle last season and missed the Super Bowl. When reminded that a loss would end his season in the same way, Pouncey said, “Oh my God, no. I can’t do that anymore. Not another year of that. Not again.”
If Pouncey can’t play Sunday, he would be replaced by Doug Legursky, who would likely be replaced at left guard by Chris Kemoeatu.
Pouncey also was so aggravated answering questions about his former college teammate Tim Tebow, Denver’s quarterback, that he told a reporter – and loud enough for those lined up behind the reporter – that he would not answer any more.
“I’m done talking about Tebow,” Pouncey said. “I’m being serious, like, I’m done talking about him. Gol-ly.”
But the reporter tried to slip in one last question about the quarterback and Pouncey turned sharply to a Steelers’ public relations staffer and said, “He asked me again.”
“Look,” Pouncey said as he turned back to the reporter, “I’m tired of talking about Tebow. I’m not playing against Tebow, so why ask me about him? I done said it a hundred times: I don’t want to talk about Tebow and you keep talking about him.”
HIGH ANKLE SPRAIN II
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger practiced Thursday and was “a little better,” according to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. “He’s moving around OK. Not as good as he was, but OK.”
Roethlisberger told reporters Wednesday that he had suffered a setback during the second half of the regular-season finale last Sunday against Cleveland.
The comment has fueled public criticism over the coaching staff’s handling of Roethlisberger, who injured his ankle in the Dec. 8 game against Cleveland, played in San Francisco 11 days later, sat out the St. Louis game five days after that, and then returned to the field this past Sunday.
Arians was asked if he had any regrets about playing Roethlisberger in San Francisco.
“None at all,” he said.
As for the setback in Cleveland, Arians said, “He was moving well in the fourth quarter. He moved around and made some great throws on third downs. Adrenaline does a lot for you in a football game that you don’t have on Monday. When you wake up, the adrenaline is not there. I am sure it happened during the game. He thought it was some time in the third quarter. Adrenaline gets you through football games, especially tight ones like that one was.”
AND IN OTHER INJURIES …
James Harrison (toe), Brett Keisel (groin) and Troy Polamalu (calf) each missed their second practices of the week, but no one expects any of them to miss Sunday’s game.
Arians was asked if he could remember the last time injuries plagued a team as much as it has this year’s team (nine players on injured reserve, including four starters).
“Last year, we had more guys on the injured reserve list,” Arians said. “This year it’s week-to-week and day-to-day injuries and who can participate and who cannot. You just go with the flow. You take what is there and go with it.”
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau on the last time he had to prepare for an option offense:
“Probably when I was playing.”