Steelers Notebook: Frazier passes tests, could play vs. Jaguars
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Just three days after he was immobilized and carted to the locker room on a stretcher, outside linebacker Andre Frazier was back on the practice field and getting ready to play in Sunday night's game in Jacksonville, Fla.
"I'm a prayerful man," Frazier said. "I wasn't too worried about it. Anything that comes is because the Lord chose to put that on me."
Frazier was injured on the opening kickoff against the Baltimore Ravens when he was blocked by safety Haruki Nakamura, a former teammate at the University of Cincinnati, as he was running down the field. After lying on the field for nearly 10 minutes, complaining of a tingling sensation, he had his facemask cut off and was treated for precautionary reasons by the medical staff as if he had a spinal injury.
But, even when he was supine on the field, Frazier repeatedly moved his legs and even raised his arm when he was carted from the field.
He said he has passed all the follow-up tests associated with spinal or concussion-type injuries, including the imPACT test that measures brain process, memory and speed and motor skills reaction. Coach Mike Tomlin said Frazier will be tested again before he is allowed to play against the Jaguars.
"Everything worked out fine and I was OK," Frazier said. "I just had a little tingling sensation. It was a little scary for me, not knowing exactly what was going on with the tingling.
"It might have been like a slight concussion. They were more worried about my spine and neck. I felt tingling, and that's something related to when you have a spinal concussion.
"It's just football. I can't really say anything else. I don't think it was a dirty hit or anything like that. Things happen out there. It's a violent game. But I'm here today speaking to y'all and I'm getting ready to practice. The Lord has blessed me."
Big Ben expected to start
Ben Roethlisberger did not practice for the second day in a row because he received an injection in his sore right shoulder -- an injury that has bothered him since the season opener.
However, he is expected to practice today and will start against the Jaguars. Same with Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison (thigh bruise), who also missed his second day of practice.
"It's the same situation he's been dealing with," Tomlin said. "He got better last week and was able to practice Thursday, but he wasn't able to practice this Thursday. Is that any indication where he is? Probably not. It's a great opportunity for Byron [Leftwich] to get some snaps and drive the bus."
Roethlisberger sustained a low-grade shoulder separation in the season opener when he was sacked by defensive end Mario Williams of the Houston Texans. But he has not missed any playing time since and the injury does not appear to bother his throwing motion.
More for Moore
Tomlin said third-down back Mewelde Moore will be the starting running back against the Jaguars because of injuries to Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall and Carey Davis.
However, he also said "we're prepared to be running back by committee," then added, "you know the contributors."
That means Gary Russell, who was promoted this week from the practice squad, will be the top backup to Moore. Najeh Davenport, who was re-signed this week after being released in June, will probably play only in an emergency.
"Gary is a solid downhill runner," said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. "It's just been a numbers game at times with him. I wouldn't mind giving it to him 20 times a game. I've been waiting a couple years to see what he can really do."
Because of the physical game against the Ravens, Tomlin went easy on the players for the second day in a row, shortening practice by almost 20 minutes and having them wear shells instead of shoulder pads.
In addition to Roethlisberger and Harrison, Davis (sprained ankle) and defensive end Nick Eason (groin) also did not practice for the second day in a row.
Davis (sprained ankle), the starting fullback, was wearing a protective boot and walking on crutches.
First Published October 3, 2008 12:00 am