Coach Mike Tomlin said injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a chance to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and he will "leave the door open" for his possible return.
He said the idea right now, however, is that Charlie Batch will start his second game in a row and "we are working on a plan to complement his strengths."
Meantime, a source close to Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he would be "shocked" if Roethlisberger played against the Ravens and expects him to miss one more game.
Roethlisberger dislocated his rib against the Kansas City Chiefs, tearing the tendon that protects the rib and creating a potentially dangerous situation. He also sustained a sternoclavicular sprain in his throwing shoulder.
The source said it's not a "pain tolerance" issue with Roethlisberger; rather, it's a question of how well he can perform with his injuries.
Tomlin said Roethlisberger threw on Monday, but added, "He's not going to be allowed to play unless he shows us he's capable."
The Steelers will start rookie Kelvin Beachum at right tackle against the Ravens because rookie Mike Adams is out with an ankle injury and former starter Marcus Gilbert was placed on injured reserve Monday.
In the first meeting two weeks ago, Adams struggled with defensive end Paul Kruger, who had a sack and two pressures in the Ravens' victory. That would not create a good situation for Roethlisberger if he was able to play.
Tomlin also said Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu, who has played only five quarters this season, could return against the Ravens. Polamalu tore his right calf tendon against Philadelphia and has missed the past seven games.
"We're encouraged by his status," Tomlin said.
The Steelers also expect wide receiver Antonio Brown to return against the Ravens after he missed the past three games with a high-ankle sprain.
But he listed outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley as doubtful. He would be replaced by Jason Worilds, who had two sacks, three quarterback hurries and one pass defensed against the Browns.
Without Brown, wide receiver Mike Wallace has managed just eight catches for 49 yards in three games. Tomlin indicated he could be replaced in the starting lineup by Emmanuel Sanders. Wallace did not catch a pass against the Browns until the last play of the game.
"Mike was frustrated on Sunday," Tomlin said. "He's not producing as much as he would like and we would like."Steelers - mobilehome - homepage - breaking
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter: @gerrydulac First Published November 27, 2012 6:00 AM