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mesaSteeler
12-01-2011, 07:07 AM
OLB Woodley closer to returning for Steelers

By Ralph N. Paulk
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, December 1, 2011

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley wouldn't say whether he'll be ready to play Sunday, but he's hopeful that his tender hamstring will mend completely before the Steelers face Cincinnati in a key AFC North game at Heinz Field.

On Wednesday, Woodley participated in practice for the first time since the Steelers defeated New England on Oct. 31. Woodley was listed as questionable last week before the team traveled to Kansas City but was scratched from the active roster along with another ailing linebacker, Stephenson Sylvester.

"I'm slowly getting back," Woodley said. "It's probably the most I've done, so it felt good. Each day I'm getting better."

While Woodley and Sylvester were back at practice, linebacker Chris Carter (hamstring), safety Troy Polamalu (head) and center Maurkice Pouncey sat out. Wide receiver Arnaz Battle (hamstring) and linebacker Larry Foote (hamstring) were limited in practice. The Bengals were missing eight players, including running back Cedric Benson (foot).

The Steelers signed linebacker Mortty Ivy to the practice squad and released wide receiver Jamar Newsome.

Sanders' knee OK

Emmanuel Sanders said his right knee is fine, and he expects to be the primary kick returner against the Bengals.

"I was out there playing and didn't feel any pain," said Sanders, who acknowledged he took a shot to numb the pain before last Sunday night's game at Kansas City.

He averaged 19.3 yards on four kickoff returns, while Antonio Brown returned punts.

"I think the coaches made the decision to help save my body," said Brown, averaged 27.8 on 19 kickoff returns.

Reality check

The Steelers have touted a high-powered offense all season. Mike Wallace has delivered some big plays, including an 81-yard scoring pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger against Arizona.

However, the Steelers are only third in scoring (233) within the AFC North. The Ravens have scored 272 points and Cincinnati 259.

"It's nothing to be alarmed about," said Roethlisberger, of the lack of big passing the past three games. "We've been close on some."

The Bengals have the eighth-ranked pass defense (215 yards) in the AFC. Only winless Indianapolis has fewer interceptions (5) than the Bengals' four.

Cornerback Leon Hall intercepted Roethlisberger in the team's first meeting Nov. 13.

Wallace nears milestone

Wallace needs only needs 61 yards to reach the 1,000-yard plateau this season. Wallace has 55 catches and averages 17.1 yards per catch, which is second best in the AFC to San Diego's Vincent Jackson (18.8).

Wallace's numbers could have been better if the ball doesn't slip through his fingers on a deep ball along the sideline Sunday.

"I just dropped the ball," Wallace said. "The corner did a nice job of timing his jump, but that's a ball I need to catch."

Ralph N. Paulk can be reached at rpaulk@tribweb.com or 412-320-7923 .



Read more: OLB Woodley closer to returning for Steelers - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_769805.html#ixzz1fHfmw7qH

steelfury02
12-01-2011, 10:12 AM
need all hands on deck!