By Teresa Varley
Coach Mike Tomlin delivered possibly the most encouraging news over the last few weeks on safety Troy Polamalu when he said, "The door is not closed on him participating," against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday.
Polamalu has missed the last six games with a knee injury suffered against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 15. "Troy ran (Monday) in a straight line. He is doing the same thing right now," said Tomlin during his weekly press conference on Tuesday. "Maybe he'll practice in a limited capacity, but really we're taking it day to day in how he responds to the workouts. (Monday) was a positive step. We'll find out about today and we'll move on from there. The door is not closed on him participating."
Polamalu also ran in a straight line last week before being ruled out for the Ravens game this past Sunday at Heinz Field.
"He has been running in the pool," said Tomlin. "He has been progressing trying to get ready hopefully to play."
While running in a straight line is a step in the right direction, the ability to cut and make moves on the football field is what will determine whether or not Polamalu plays Sunday.
"The unanticipated movement that comes with playing football, changing directions, dropping your weight and so forth will be critical to him getting game clearance to play," said Tomlin.
Wide receiver Hines Ward is still hobbled with two hamstring injuries, but it isn't expected to keep him sidelined.
"That's Hines. He's going to leave it out on the field and give us everything he has," said Tomlin.
Guard Chris Kemoeatu has been hampered by multiple injuries, most recently missing the Ravens game, and his status for Sunday's game has yet to be determined.
"He still has weakness in his wrist, significant weakness," said Tomlin. "Hopefully we'll get him some work in the later part of the week and see if he is able to play."
Running back Willie Parker is bothered by a shoulder injury that will keep him out of practice on Wednesday and his progress will be monitored as the week goes on. Defensive end Brett Keisel is experiencing discomfort from a stinger that forced him to leave the Ravens game early on Sunday and special teamer Rocky Boiman has a calf strain and could be limited in practice.