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Thread: Achilles injury could sideline Polamalu for rest of regular season

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    Default Achilles injury could sideline Polamalu for rest of regular season

    Achilles injury could sideline Polamalu for rest of regular season

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Strong safety Troy Polamalu could miss the remainder of the regular season after aggravating his strained right Achilles tendon, sources told the Tribune-Review on Friday.

    Polamalu, however, could return for the playoffs.

    According to a Steelers source, the length of Polamalu's absence depends on the team's playoff positioning. The Steelers (10-3) hold a one-game lead over Baltimore in the AFC North.

    The Steelers face the New York Jets (9-4) on Sunday, then close the regular season against Carolina (1-12) and Cleveland (5-8). They have only three days off before facing Carolina, possibly not enough time for Polamalu's injury to sufficiently heal.

    The Cleveland game Jan. 2 might be meaningless for playoff positioning, and the Steelers could opt to sit not only Polamalu but also other starters.

    Polamalu is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Jets.

    Polamalu was diagnosed with the Achilles injury after the Steelers' 39-26 loss to New England on Nov. 14 but has not missed a game.

    He returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown against Cincinnati last week but aggravated the injury when Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer fell on the back of his leg at the end of the play. Polamalu limped off the field but finished the game.

    As he has done since injuring his Achilles, Polamalu missed the first two days of practice this week. But he also sat out yesterday's practice, a change from previous weeks.

    Steelers players rarely play if they don't practice Fridays. Polamalu didn't speak with reporters yesterday.

    Free safety Ryan Clark practiced at strong safety this week. Ryan Mundy filled Clark's position yesterday.

    Polamalu, a leading candidate for the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year honors, has a team-high six interceptions in 13 games this season. He made big plays in each of the Steelers' past three wins that resulted in a touchdown against Cincinnati, set up a touchdown against Baltimore and stopped Buffalo's offense in the red zone.

    It is up to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to find the right combination of players to replace that productivity.

    Last week Clark and Polamalu switched positions after Polamalu aggravated his injury.

    Linebacker Lawrence Timmons' role also could increase with Polamalu's absence.
    Last edited by BlackNGoldRules; Dec-18-2010 at 02:14 AM.

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    Default Re: Achilles injury could sideline Polamalu for rest of regular season

    Crud year after year, why are Troy's legs so fragile?

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    Default Re: Achilles injury could sideline Polamalu for rest of regular season

    We need him back for the playoffs or else we're doomed.

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    Default Re: Achilles injury could sideline Polamalu for rest of regular season

    It's better to get Troy healthy for the playoffs.

    It does scare me a little though that he's not playing now since he's been the clear game-changer in the past 3 wins.

    The rest of this team will have to step it up clearly. It also scares me a little to think that Clark and Mundy are the safety tandem now. Yikes. Why no Will Allen? That's a head scratcher.

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    Default Re: Achilles injury could sideline Polamalu for rest of regular season

    Steelers Notebook: Mundy is student of Polamalu

    Saturday, December 18, 2010
    By Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Larry Roberts / Post-Gazette
    Steelers saftey Ryan Mundy could replace Troy Polamalu in the starting lineup Sunday.

    Ryan Mundy has taken a fan's approach to learning from Troy Polamalu.

    Mundy, who will likely replace Polamalu if Polamalu cannot play Sunday, said he watches Polamalu's plays, then questions him about them afterward.

    "You see what he does and then ask him, 'Troy why'd you do this,' or 'Troy why'd you do that,' " Mundy said.

    Polamalu has not practiced Wednesday and Thursday in the past few weeks since injuring his ankle, so Mundy worked with the first-team defense. Polamalu did not practice Wednesday, Thursday or Friday this week. The most important thing he gained from this extra practice time, Mundy said, was smoother communication with the rest of the back seven.

    "Knowing, you know, where James Farrior's going to set the defense, what Ryan Clark like to do, me and Ike Taylor communicating and me and Bryant McFadden communicating," he said.

    Mundy knows the difficulty he faces in replacing Polamalu, who has made big plays in each of the previous three games, but has confidence he can play well enough.

    "There's obviously only one Troy Polamalu," Mundy said. "But we do have a standard here at playing safety and I just have to be the best Ryan Mundy I can be and meet the standard for playing safety here at the Steelers."

    Mundy has tried to learn Polamalu's instinct for when to make plays near the line of scrimmage.

    "It may not be what I'm supposed to do but he goes and makes that play," he said. "The one thing that I learned about Troy is that he knows situations.

    "A lot of times he'll be called to play underneath the defense but he'll just blitz because he feels like it's a run. And that's what I'm talking about knowing situations. If it's like second-and-3, maybe even first-and-10, if he feels it's a run he's going to go get it. And that's how he ends up with so many tackles for losses."

    Taylor's new spokesperson

    When cameras surrounded his locker Thursday, Ike Taylor turned to Mike Wallace, whose locker is nearby, for help. Wallace, he said, would answer his questions for him.

    "How do you plan on going up against your former teammate, Santonio Holmes?" someone asked Wallace to ask Taylor.

    The two conferred in whispers in Taylor's locker.

    "My client feels like it's going to be a really good matchup," Wallace replied. "He knows what he's trying to do, they've played together for years. He knows what Ike does, Ike knows what he does, so we feel like it's going to be a really good matchup."

    "What does your client think of Mike Wallace?"

    More hushed discussion.

    "Can't nobody check him."


    "Hey," Wallace said, "I'm just relaying a message."

    "That's all they want to hear," Wallace said later of questions about Holmes returning to Pittsburgh. "From here on out I'm probably going to do all his interviews."

    The speedy Wallace will face a Jets secondary missing both of its starting safeties. Jim Leonhard broke his leg and was placed on injured reserve, and Eric Smith has a concussion and is out for Sunday's game.

    "I don't care if one guy plays and one guy doesn't," he said. "I feel like at 4:15 on Sunday we're still going to have to play no matter who's out there."

    Injury report
    Tackle Flozell Adams (ankle), cornerback Bryant McFadden (hamstring) and tight end Heath Miller (concussion) all practiced fully Friday.

    Read more:

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