Parker misses another day of workouts

'Training camp knee' slowing running back

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Halfback Willie Parker has swelling in his left knee and will not play in the Steelers' first exhibition game Sunday night against New Orleans in Canton, Ohio.

Parker is unlikely to practice the rest of the week after missing consecutive days with slight soreness and inflammation of the knee.

Coach Mike Tomlin downplayed the extent of the injury and called it "training camp knee."

"He's going to be fine," Tomlin said. "We're going to give him a little rest. When that thing calms down a little bit, I'm sure he'll be ready to get back out."

Tomlin did not officially rule Parker out of Sunday's game, saying it was a possibility, but a well-placed source said he won't dress against the Saints.

That means that Najeh Davenport likely will replace him as the starter, as he has with the first team in practice. Davenport has looked good in his first Steelers training camp. Tomlin coached the secondary at Tampa Bay when Davenport was in top form with the Green Bay Packers.

"And he looks like that guy," Tomlin said. "He gutted us pretty good in Tampa one year, about 75 yards on 14 carries. I have a sick memory, I don't know why I remember that."

Parker's absence also opens the doors for other backs. Yesterday, Carey Davis took his turn after Davenport, followed by Kevan Barlow, Verron Haynes, rookie Gary Russell, Larry Croom and John Kuhn.

"That's's exactly what injuries are about -- it's unfortunate for someone but it's an opportunity for someone else," Tomlin said. "I look forward to seeing what those other guys will do with the opportunities they get."

Matt Freed, Post-Gazette
Injured running back Willie Parker sits on the bench at training camp yesterday. Parker will not play Sunday in the Steelers' first exhibition game against New Orleans in Canton, Ohio.
Click photo for larger image.


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