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Steelers' Smith stuck 'in limbo'

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011

Aaron Smith won't put a percentage on his health or chances of playing in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets, even though the Steelers defensive end believes he can be effective at 50 percent.

Smith, out since late October with a torn triceps, said Wednesday the decision of whether he can play will come after consulting with coaches and team doctors later this week. But Smith promised he won't do anything detrimental to the Steelers' Super Bowl hopes.

"We'll have to see how I feel, how things progress," Smith said. "Hopefully, I can stand up and make the decision. If I think I'm going to hurt the team, then I'll say no."

Coach Mike Tomlin said Smith, who has missed the past 11 games, was too valuable to place on season-ending injured reserve and that the Steelers remain hopeful he can contribute this postseason.

"That's the reason why we've carried him for this long," Tomlin said. "He is a quality player and person and, if he's in a helmet, it benefits him."

The 6-foot-5, 298-pound Smith did virtually nothing during practice yesterday. Smith said tests taken Friday revealed his healing "wasn't as far along as I wanted it to be." He described his status as "in limbo."

Smith was surprised at Tomlin's suggestion this week of putting the 12th-year veteran on a snap count if he returns to the lineup. Smith rarely came out of games when healthy.

"I've never been on a snap count," he said. "Usually, when I come off the field is when I want to come off the field, so it was kind of weird for him to say there is a snap count involved. I get to my limit, and then I'm done. 'Pull him off the field, and he's done.' What if I knock (all the plays) out early in the game?"




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