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Old 12-20-2007, 08:04 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Injury Report - Week 16 and A Few Tidbits

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07354/843195-66.stm

Steelers Notebook: Some injured players return

Thursday, December 20, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers welcomed the return of several injured players to their practice yesterday morning, including some starters.

Ike Taylor, who left the game Sunday against Jacksonville with a knee injury, went through a full practice after missing practice Tuesday. He likely will start at cornerback. Defensive end Travis Kirschke (ribs) also put in a full practice and, like Taylor, is listed as probable and should start.

Linebacker Clark Haggans (knee) is listed as questionable, even though he went through a full practice yesterday.

Scratched for the game are starting left tackle Marvel Smith (back) and backup linebacker Clint Kriewaldt (neck). Also, backup linebacker Andre Frazier (groin) is questionable after going through a limited practice, and wide receiver Nate Washington (ankle) is probable after putting in a full practice.

Rookie LaMarr Woodley would make his first start at left outside linebacker if Haggans cannot go.

"It definitely means a lot," Woodley said about his possible first NFL start. "It would be an opportunity to go out and do what you've always done, play football."

Woodley played much more earlier in the season when, as a substitute, he had three sacks in the first three games. He has been relegated mostly to special-teams play since then with Haggans and newly named Pro Bowl starting outside linebacker James Harrison playing most of the way.

Whose home game is it?
Steelers fans routinely turn out on the road and tonight there may be more than ever at the Edward Jones Dome. Tickets have been available easily to visiting fans in St. Louis after the Rams opened the season 0-8.

Only 52,051 showed up for a Dec. 2 game against Atlanta in the 66,000-seat dome, and, while fans filled it Sunday for a game against Green Bay, most of them were cheering for the Packers

"I'd say at least 30,000 fans," Rams quarterback Marc Bulger guessed as to the breakdown of Green Bay fans vs. his own.

"It was pretty loud for them. Everyone is a little bit upset about it, but I'm trying to warn everyone that it could be worse this week."

Bulger, who watched the Steelers often at Three Rivers Stadium as he grew up in Greenfield and helped deliver Steelers Digest as a youngster, knows what he is talking about.

"I just know how Pittsburgh fans are. Growing up there, there's going to be a lot. Especially with the holiday, I think people are going to be taking a couple extra days off, so I am anticipating a bunch."

Celebrating with friends
Alan Faneca was the only Steelers offensive lineman voted to the Pro Bowl roster, but the rest of them might join him in Honolulu the week after the Super Bowl, courtesy of Ben Roethlisberger.

The quarterback wants to celebrate his first selection to the Pro Bowl with his buddies, and the tab's on him.

"I'll take all the offensive line, their wives or significant others," Roethlisberger pledged.

Love that weather report
After weeks of playing in the snow, cold or rain, many of the Steelers welcome an indoor game tonight.

"Yes, indoors, no elements, 70 degrees, no wind," Roethlisberger said, giving the weather report inside the Edward Jones Dome tonight. "It's going to feel a lot better than what we've had the last -- shoot -- month or two."

Starting with their Monday night game against Baltimore Nov. 5, the Steelers have played in rain or snow in four of their five home games.

Short turnaround
Coach Mike Tomlin said he used the last two games of the exhibition season to prepare for the kind of short week the Steelers faced leading up to the game tonight, four days after their previous game Sunday.

The Steelers played the Philadelphia Eagles on a Sunday night at home and finished up the preseason at Carolina the following Thursday night.

While not normal, they have experienced such quick turnarounds before. In fact, it happened last season when they played Tampa Bay Sunday and Cleveland four days later -- both those games were at home, and they won both.

"I don't think any of the coaches went home all week," Hines Ward said. "They stayed in their offices trying to put in the game plan. We got a crash course to get the game plan in."
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