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Steelers' Big Ben on course to play Sunday

The Steelers have received a double dose of good news on the Ben Roethlisberger front.

The Steelers' quarterback didn't experience any headaches Monday after working out, and he is expected to return Sunday against the visiting Oakland Raiders.

Also, he and wide receiver Hines Ward have apparently resolved any issues that may have arisen when Ward told NBC that he has played with concussions in the past — and that Steelers players were divided over Roethlisberger not playing last Sunday in a 20-17 overtime loss to the Ravens.

Roethlisberger sustained a concussion Nov. 22, and coach Mike Tomlin held him out of the Ravens game following a recommendation by Dr. Joseph Maroon.

"I have been informed that those guys spoke extensively," Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "I spoke with Hines (Monday) night. It was a good, clean conversation. He assured me that this football team will be ready to prepare for and ultimately play Oakland."

Ward said as much on his Twitter page yesterday.

"I wanted to set the record straight with my fans first because the media will not get comments about this situation from me, it's resolved and we are focusing on Oakland and getting back on the right track," Ward wrote.

Ward's comments were made during an interview that aired prior to the Ravens game and was taped Saturday. He later said he spoke out because he was frustrated that Roethlisberger had practiced all week.

Tomlin made Roethlisberger the emergency quarterback Saturday following a meeting with Maroon and other Steelers medical personnel. Roethlisberger had passed a battery of tests following the third football-related concussion of his career, but he experienced exertion-induced headaches throughout the week.

Tomlin did not tell the other players his decision regarding Roethlisberger. He said yesterday he should have handled the situation differently.

"I think at times when you compete and have got to make decisions in a timely manner you proceed with assumptions, and assumptions at times can be a dangerous thing," Tomlin said. "Evidently in this case, it was. Not worried about it."

Tomlin said he is not concerned about a rift developing in the Steelers' locker room because of what Ward said on NBC's pregame show.

"Any time you get 53 men in a locker room, there's going to be disagreements and misunderstandings and miscommunications," Tomlin said. "I think it's highlighted by losing, and it becomes a story in times in the midst of losing. I tend to focus on the real root of our ills and that is searching for a winning formula. I think a win would solve a lot of issues."

Getting Roethlisberger back would help as the Steelers try to rediscover their winning ways, and Tomlin expects to have the sixth-year veteran available Sunday against the Raiders.

"We're not anticipating him having headaches this week, but if he does we'll act quickly," Tomlin said.

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