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Steelers secondary takes another hit

The Steelers don't have much time to dwell on their 27-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders Sunday.

Nor do they have much time to heal from it, which means they could be without another starter in their secondary Thursday when they visit the Browns.

Cornerback William Gay left yesterday's game in the fourth quarter with what appears to be a concussion after the third-year man got hit in the helmet by Steelers safety Ryan Mundy as the two were making a tackle.

Given the short week as well as the caution the Steelers exercise when it comes to players with concussions, Gay is almost certain to be deactivated for the 8:20 p.m. game Thursday.

The secondary, which is as beleaguered as it is beat up, is unlikely to get strong safety Troy Polamalu back for the game against the Browns.

Polamalu has missed the Steelers' last three games with a strained posterior collateral ligament in his left knee. Of the prospect of the five-time Pro Bowler returning against the Browns, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, "On a short week, I doubt it, but we'll see."

Digits

7.7 -- Yards per play the Steelers averaged in their 27-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders

13 -- Receiving yards Santonio Holmes needs to post the first 1,000-yard season of his career at any level.

Quotable

"I can't put a finger on it. Is it any different than following the '05 season• I don't know. We've got a lot of veteran guys. It's just, the ball's not bouncing our way. Look at (cornerback) Joe Burnett. He catches the ball all the time in practice, then to come down and throw it up and have three defenders around it and their guyscomes up with it, it's the flukiest things I've ever seen. We're just not finding ways to win."

Hines Ward

Steelers wide receiver, on the Steelers' struggles at the end of games.

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