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Steelers' Hampton might play against Patriots

Veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton could return Sunday after missing the previous three games with a shoulder injury.

Hampton is scheduled to practice Wednesday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said today at his weekly news conference.

The Steelers host the New England Patriots on Sunday for a 4:15 p.m. game, and they are slowly getting healthier on defense.

Nose tackle Chris Hoke (neck), outside linebackers Jason Worilds (quad) and James Harrison and guard Doug Legursky (toe) are "status quo," Tomlin said as far as their injuries. That means Hoke and Worilds have a chance to play against the Patriots, while Harrison will miss his fourth consecutive game, and Legursky will be out for a second straight week.

Veteran wide receiver Hines Ward is questionable for Sunday after spraining his ankle in the Steelers' 32-20 win at Arizona. Tomlin sounded cautiously optimistic that Ward will be able to suit up against the Patriots.

Tomlin said Ward's "participation" this week in practice will dictate whether the 14th-year veteran plays against New England.

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