Steelers notebook: Big Ben listed as probable, on track to play against Colts
Ben Roethlisberger was a full participant in practice Friday and is listed as probable for Sunday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field.
The Steelers quarterback did not miss any practice time this week.
Roethlisberger left the field before the final drive of last Sunday's game in Seattle because of blurred peripheral vision. He was entered into the NFL's concussion protocol.
Despite confusion earlier this week over results of baseline cognitive testing he underwent, Roethlisberger is on track to play Sunday.
Roethlisberger had a career-high 522 passing yards and tied a career high with six touchdown passes in a 51-34 win against the Colts last season.
Shazier also probable
Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who suffered a concussion last week against the Seahawks, also is listed as probable for the Colts game. Shazier, whose concussion was more obvious and easily diagnosed, was limited in practice Wednesday but was a full participant Thursday and Friday.
Shazier's status is good news for a thinning inside linebacker corps — backup Sean Spence did not practice for the second consecutive day and will not play Sunday. He injured a hamstring against the Seahawks.
Other players who are considered probable after practicing Friday are linebacker James Harrison (knee), receiver Martavis Bryant (hip) and safeties Will Allen (ankle) and Mike Mitchell (knee).
The only practice time all week for tight end Heath Miller came in limited fashion Friday. Miller, who suffered a rib injury last week, is listed as questionable against the Colts.
Friday's practice was an hour earlier than usual to accommodate a league-wide administering of a players survey by the NFL and its union.
The questions ranged from concussion protocol to locker room cleanliness.
“Just various questions on the survey regarding ... how seriously players take concussions or the medical staff or … going through the right protocols,” linebacker Jarvis Jones said.
“(And) questions about the different medical things. Are the facilities clean? Do you have soap? All the towels clean? Just … various different questions (about) the facilities here and other places we play.”
Wheaton keeps focus
It was turning into a disappointing season for Markus Wheaton. Over the seven games before last Sunday, Wheaton had nine catches for 135 yards.
Against the Seahawks he had nine catches for 201 yards.
Wheaton said keeping a level head throughout the season helped contribute to the career day.
“Just staying focused — being able to stay focused throughout not seeing as many balls as a receiver,” Wheaton said. “You want to catch balls, you want to score touchdowns — that's any receiver. I think being able to stay focused, despite that, is extremely tough, and I'm glad I was able to.”
The Steelers find themselves in eighth place in the AFC, and only six teams qualify for the postseason.
Their margin for error might have evaporated. It might not be “must-win” yet, but guard Ramon Foster said the Steelers know the only way to be comfortably assured they will make the playoffs is to win their five remaining games.
“You never know how this thing's going to fall,” Foster said. “One thing we can't count on is other teams getting us in the playoffs.”