Steelers Notebook: Polamalu has first practice in three weeks

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Troy Polamalu practiced Friday for the first time in three weeks, but he said coach Mike Tomlin will decide if he plays Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

Polamalu did not play in the past two games because of an Achilles tendon-related injury. He said he wants to play, but it's not up to him.

"Honestly it's 100 percent on whatever coach Tomlin decides," he said.

Polamalu said the idea of playing for parts of the game depending on the score was also up to Tomlin but added that against Cleveland, that may not be an option.

"We've never really blown these guys out and vice versa, they've never really blown us out," he said. "It's always been a tough game over there, and that's what we anticipate this weekend."

His right ankle has been feeling better after missing the Dec. 19 game against the New York Jets, Polamalu said. He is listed as questionable.

His injury causes more problems because there is not a way to practice or play -- or move -- that doesn't aggravate it.

"Anybody that's taken any anatomy classes would know that anything bothers an Achilles," he said. "Right now it feels pretty good. Hopefully I don't get any setbacks."

If the Steelers win Sunday, they clinch the AFC North title and a first-round bye in the playoffs. That week of rest would not only help Polamalu, he said, but many of his teammates also dealing with injuries.

"It would be a huge advantage for us, being how banged up our team is, but we really can't look that far ahead," he said.

"It would help me tremendously. It would help a lot of people on this team tremendously. There's guys that are just barely hanging on by a string week by week. Unfortunately for me that string broke; now it's tied back up there again."

He has thought about the possibility of re-injuring the Achilles, which could keep him out of playoff games.

"That's always a consideration with any injury," he said. "The Achilles, of course, the setback is pretty big rather than tearing a hamstring."

The Steelers are 1-1 without Polamalu this season, with a loss against the Jets and win against the Carolina Panthers. Ryan Mundy started both games in his place.

Injury update

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley (knee) practiced fully Friday and is probable for Sunday's game. Linebacker Jason Worilds (knee) was limited in practice and listed as questionable, and running back Mewelde Moore (knee) did not practice. He is out for Sunday's game.


Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com .


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