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Steelers notebook: Colon likely to play Sunday, Woodley out

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Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Steelers guard Ramon Foster has teamed with Willie Colon to open up holes for breakout running back Jonathan Dwyer.

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Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 6:10 p.m.

Steelers guard Willie Colon participated fully in practice Friday and is listed as probable for Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field. Colon missed the previous two games with a knee injury.

If Colon starts, the Steelers are expected to move Maurkice Pouncey back to center. Pouncey started at left guard for the first time in his career against Baltimore last week, while Doug Legursky got the start at center.

• Linebacker LaMarr Woodley will miss his second straight game with an ankle injury. Also out is cornerback Ike Taylor (ankle) and tackle Mike Adams (ankle), while quarterback Byron Leftwich (ribs) is listed as questionable. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who earlier this week said he will start, is probable along with eight others: receivers Antonio Brown (ankle), Emmanuel Sanders (shoulder), Mike Wallace (knee) and Jerricho Cotchery (ribs); punter Drew Butler (illness), safeties Troy Polamalu (not injury related) and Ryan Clark (hip); fullback Will Johnson (concussion) and Colon. All of the injured players practiced.

• The Chargers have been slowed some offensively this season, mostly because they are losing the field-position battles. The Chargers started with possession inside their 20-yard line six times in losing to Cincinnati this past Sunday. But Clark said those numbers are somewhat misleading. “In 2008, when we were one of the best defensive teams statistically over the past 25 years, we always played on short fields because (punter) Mitch Berger always shanked the ball,” Clark said. “Our offense hasn't gotten a lot of short fields this season, either.”

• Running back Rashard Mendenhall didn't sound confident when asked if he would be active for Sunday's game. Mendenhall, who has lost the starting job to Jonathan Dwyer, was inactive for last week's game at Baltimore. He said expects to sit out against the Chargers, too.

• San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers has struggled this season, partly because his blind side hasn't been protected with left tackle Mike Harris in and out of the lineup with injuries. “He gets so much pressure on him, it causes him to make bad throws,” Clark said. “Obviously, when you have an offense struggling in that manner, you do want to get it the ball in better situations.” Rivers, too, has been handicapped by having five receivers — including Danario Alexander and Robert Meachem — start opposite Malcolm Floyd.

— Ralph N. Paulk

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