After three long weeks (1-2) the Pittsburgh Steelers expect to welcome back quarterback Ben Roethlisberger under center Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. The franchise signal caller has practiced all week and is listed as probable on the all-important Friday injury report. For the Steelers, his return is coming at a critical juncture, as the playoff push has already began.Roethlisberger may not be the only starter to return, as the team expects guard Willie Colon to return to action after missing the past two weeks with a knee injury. Colon has practiced this week, and appears poised to allow center Maurkice Pouncey to return to the center position. This could be a huge boost for the offensive line, who must protect Roethlisberger this week to help ease him back into the flow of an NFL game.
The team should also have wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (Ribs), fullback Will Johnson (Concussion) and safety Ryan Clark (Hip) available for the match-up. While all three have different injury concerns, they are all listed as probable. Of those, the team could least afford to lose Clark, who has been one of the most consistent members of the surging defense, and would also impact a secondary playing without starting cornerback Ike Taylor. Taylor (Ankle), linebacker LaMarr Woodley (Ankle) and offensive tackle Mike Adams (Ankle) are already designated as out for this battle.
As we have reported, cornerbacks Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown will have to take on a larger role for the defense this week, which makes it imperative to have Clark and Troy Polamalu available for the game. For a second straight week, tackle Kelvin Beachum and linebacker Jason Worilds will start for Adams and Woodley. Last week against the Baltimore Ravens, all four players who stepped up and played solid.
Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.