Steelers training camp: Minor injuries pile up, especially in OL
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The emphasis on easier NFL training camps under the new labor agreement has not resulted in fewer injuries for the Steelers, at least not the minor ones that keep players out for a day or three.
Several more Steelers headed for the sideline at practice Saturday, joining what coach Mike Tomlin called a "laundry list" of minor injuries.
At one point, two-fifths of his starting offensive line were taken off the field on the same cart to an overworked trainers' room. Left tackle Jonathan Scott went down with a sprained left ankle, and right guard Ramon Foster left with an injury Tomlin declined to specify other than to call both of them minor. Starting left guard Chris Kemoeatu is on the physically-unable-to-perform list with a knee injury and has yet to practice, and center Maurkice Pouncey missed the Saturday session with an ankle injury sustained Friday night in practice.
"We're hopeful to have him back here the first of next week," Tomlin said of Pouncey.
Only right tackle Willie Colon, who practiced for the first time Thursday, was left standing among the starting linemen at the end of the Saturday practice.
"Training camp type things, man," Tomlin said. "These guys have to take advantage of their down time and stay ahead of the curve when given the opportunity."
Wide receiver Limas Sweed, who has endured all kinds of problems since the Steelers drafted him in the second round in 2008, has another. He sustained a sprained shoulder in practice Saturday. He missed a few practices last week with a hamstring injury. Sweed is trying to make the team after missing all last season with a torn achilles tendon.
Receiver Arnaz Battle has back spasms, linebacker James Harrison was given the day off, and several cornerbacks were out again with lingering minor injuries, including rookies Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown, starter Bryant McFadden and second-year defensive back Crezdon Butler. Offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert remains out with a hamstring injury.
A bit of good news on the injury front: Hines Ward, who opened camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list after surgery on his thumb, plans to come off it Monday and practice.
The only live hitting of camp comes in brief goal-line drills, and the first one occurred with seven plays to end practice.
Jonathan Dwyer, who reported to camp way overweight, scored once on two tries. Rookie Barron Batch ran the next four and scored twice. Linebacker Mortty Ivy of Gateway High School and West Virginia popped Batch so hard when he stuffed him on the last try that Ivy's helmet went flying off.
Rookie John Clay was stuffed on his only run, giving the defense a 4-3 edge.
Tomlin enjoyed one thing more than any other in those seven plays.
"First of all, I liked the fact we didn't have any pre-snap penalties and I know that sounds like a little thing, but, offensively and defensively, not shooting yourself in the foot in that situation prior to the ball snapping was big."
Ben Roethlisberger and a number of his teammates took part in the filming of the new Batman movie Saturday morning at Heinz Field, mainly just standing on the sidelines while the cameras panned them for the playing of the national anthem. Not everybody showed up on the set.
Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said he and James Harrison declined to appear for the movie's Gotham City team because the uniforms they would have been wearing had the Under Armour logo on them. Woodley was concerned that could have created a conflict with Nike and the Air Jordan brand he endorses.
"I wasn't willing to lose my brand Jordan endorsement so I passed on it," said Woodley, who signed a new six-year, $61.5 million contract Friday that made him the highest-paid defensive player on the team. "I wasn't taking any chances. I wasn't trying to risk my deal."
That didn't stop Roethlisberger, who also endorses Nike apparel.
"We actually talked to [the producers], and they said they would digital [the logo] out for us," Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberger arrived at Heinz Field about 6:30 a.m. and was back at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe in time for lunch.
First Published August 7, 2011 12:02 am