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Roethlisberger limping but probable

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Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012
 

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger participated in Friday's practice in preparation for Sunday's AFC wild-card game at Denver. Roethlisberger is listed as probable, but continued to limp noticeably in practice.

Roethlisberger played in two of the last three regular-season games with a high ankle sprain. Charlie Batch is expected to get the start if Roethlisberger is unable to go before the 4:30 p.m. kickoff at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.

Center Maurkice Pouncey did not practice for the second day in a row and is unlikely to start against the Broncos. Guard Doug Legursky would take Pouncey's spot at center.

Also, Legursky (shoulder), linebackers James Harrison (toe) and LaMarr Woodley (hamstring), defensive end Brett Keisel (groin), Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu (calf) and offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (back) are all probable.

Cornerback Cortez Allen (shoulder) and running back Mewelde Moore (knee) will miss the playoff opener. Safety Ryan Clark had been ruled out earlier this week because of complications caused by the altitude in Denver.

The Broncos will be without safety Brian Dawkins (neck). Running back Spencer Larsen (knee) is doubtful, and linebacker Von Miller (thumb) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe) are probable. Safety David Bruton (Achilles) and cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (illness) are questionable.

• Pouncey and Polamalu were named to the Associated Press NFL All-Pro first team. Pouncey, a Pro Bowl starter for the second year in a row, made the squad ahead of Carolina's Ryan Kalil and the Jets' Nick Mangold. Polamalu got the nod over Ed Reed of Baltimore. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons, wide receiver/kick returner Antonio Brown and wide receiver Mike Wallace received votes.

• Guard Ramon Foster is the only Steelers offensive lineman to start the final 13 games of the regular season. He enters the playoff game having put together a surprisingly solid season amid the constant criticism of an up-and-down offensive front. "I'm just blessed not to have any major injuries like all the other guys," Foster said. With Roethlisberger slowed with a high ankle sprain, Foster is hoping the Steelers will lean on the running game even with running back Rashard Mendenhalll out for the season. "It's a challenge we want every game," he said. "It's a mindset we want, but we have been in situations where we've had to pass the ball a lot. We're more than capable of running the ball. Denver has a good defense, but I'm confident we can get the job done."

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