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Kemoeatu says Pouncey will miss Super Bowl

Steelers Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey will not play in Super Bowl XLV because of an ankle injury suffered in last weekend's AFC Championship Game, a teammate told the Tribune-Review on Wednesday.

"We are definitely sad that he won't be able to be with us in the Super Bowl," left guard Chris Kemoeatu said after Wednesday's practice on the South Side. "Definitely I feel bad for him. We just have to win it for him. It's definitely a huge loss for us."

Pouncey said after the Steelers' 24-19 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday that he planned to play in the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers.

"I had the same injury before on my other ankle, and I know how to attack it," he said.

Pouncey injured his ankle — described by Steelers officials as a high left ankle sprain — in the first quarter against the New York Jets when linebacker Bryan Thomas rolled up on his leg. The next play Rashard Mendenhall scored to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead.

Pouncey did not return and was relegated to crutches on the sidelines for the rest of the game.

The Steelers' 2010 No. 1 draft pick had his ankle X-rayed Monday and was fitted for a cast. Pouncey was not available during two open locker room sessions yesterday but was seen at the team's practice facility in a cast and using crutches. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did not address the media yesterday.

A Steelers public relations official declined comment, saying the team stands by its injury report, which states only that Pouncey did not practice. The team does not issue an injury report identifying the likelihood of a player's playing status until next week.

Pouncey's agent, Joel Segal, could not be reached for comment by phone or e-mail.

If Pouncey cannot play, Doug Legursky would take his place opposite of B.J. Raji, the Packers' 6-foot-2, 337-pound nose tackle.

"I prepare every week as if I was playing, and this week is no different," said Legursky, a 2008 undrafted free agent from Marshall who filled in for Pouncey against the Jets and saw limited action against Cincinnati during the middle of the season.

Legursky has played center and both guard spots this season, as well as fullback and tight end in short yardage situations. He started four games at right guard when Trai Essex went down with an injury earlier this season.

Essex will back up Legursky at center.

"Doug's done it all, and he's ready and primed for this opportunity, and I think he's going to do a great job," injured left tackle Max Starks said. "The biggest thing is having the mentality and attitude of 'You know what, whatever I can do to make this team successful, I'm going to do it.' "

Legursky helped the Steelers run for 166 yards against a stout Jets defensive front.

"Everybody saw how big he was in the game," Kemoeatu said. "We believe in Doug and have confidence in him, and I think we will be all right."

Still, losing Pouncey is significant, Kemoeatu said.

"We know how big this is for him," Kemoeatu said, "and him not being able to play is definitely motivating for us to go out there and get that ring for him."

Additional Information:

Tale of the tape

Here's how Maurkice Pouncey and Doug Legursky match up:

MAURKICE POUNCEY

Height: 6 feet 4

Weight: 304 pounds

Age: 21

College: Florida

How acquired: 2010 first-round pick (18th overall)

NFL experience: Rookie

Starts: 18

DOUG LEGURSKY

Height: 6 feet 1

Weight: 323 pounds

Age: 24

College: Marshall

How acquired: 2008 undrafted free agent

NFL experience: 2 years

Starts: 4

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