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Steelers' Roethlisberger rolls ankle, leaves practice early

| Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, 3:44 p.m.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger escapes the Titans' Michael Griffin during the fourth quarter on Oct. 11 at LP Field in the team's 26-23 loss. When asked whether an improved running game would help enhance the team’s ability to hold leads, Roethlisberger said, “We just need to score points, however we can do it.” Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

The Steelers got a scare Thursday when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger accidentally stepped on a foot, causing him to miss part of their final full-scale practice for this weekend's Bengals game.

“I stepped on someone's foot and rolled my ankle a little,” said Roethlisberger, who was limping slightly in the locker room and had ice on his right ankle after practice. Byron Leftwich finished up with the starters.

Teammates were uncertain who Roethlisberger stepped on, with tackle Mike Adams saying it might have been an assistant coach.

The injury is not believed to be serious and should not affect Roethlisberger's status as the Steelers (2-3) try to end their three-game road losing streak Sunday night. He broke the same foot two years ago.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley talked to reporters after practice and deferred all injury questions to coach Mike Tomlin, who did not give interviews.

Roethlisberger is off to the best start of his career with a 64.6 percent completion rate, a 99.9 quarterback rating, 10 touchdown passes and two interceptions.

• All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey, who could barely walk Monday after spraining his right MCL, participated in several practice plays Thursday and is optimistic about playing Sunday in Cincinnati. He wasn't on the field Monday or Wednesday. “If I feel good (Friday), then I definitely will play. If not, I am going to have to rest it,” Pouncey said. He felt better after icing the knee overnight, then heavily taping it beneath a knee brace. He joked the knee brace costs $1,000, “So I'm glad the team is paying for it,” Pouncey said.

• Running backs Rashard Mendenhall (left Achilles) and Isaac Redman (right ankle) did not practice, lessening their chances of playing against the Bengals (3-3). Linebacker Lawrence Timmons (foot) returned after being out Wednesday.

• Ike Taylor calls playmaker A.J. Green one of the NFL's top three receivers. But Green isn't the Bengals' only downfield threat. Green, Andrew Hawkins, Armon Binns, Brandon Tate and tight end Jermaine Gresham have a touchdown reception of at least 44 yards. Green has six TD catches overall. “When you've got receivers like that, they're dangerous,” cornerback Keenan Lewis said. “(Hawkins, the slot receiver) has got to be the quickest guy I've ever seen.”

• The Steelers have allowed nine touchdown passes, only one longer than 15 yards. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown for 12 scores but also has nine interceptions, three for touchdowns. “He trusts in his receivers a lot, so he's going to make those (tough) throws,” Lewis said. “We've got to be ready to go for him.”

• The Steelers apparently still plan to play Taylor in man-to-man coverage against Green, who had seven catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns against them last season. “We didn't bracket him last year. We don't have anything in the plans to do that to him this year,” safety Ryan Clark said. “We're going to play our game. We just need to play it better.”

• With Mendenhall and Redman likely out, rookie Chris Rainey might get see extensive playing time, as was expected during his impressive training camp. To date, he has seven carries, six catches and 11 kickoff/punt returns. “I get to play more, and if it's your opportunity, you just take it,” Rainey said. “You hate it when people get hurt, but that's life, that's reality.” Baron Batch, who is expected to start, said he “needs to knock the rust off” after missing some holes in Tennessee.

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