By Teresa Varley
Troy Polamalu could take part in practice as early as Wednesday, returning for the first time since he suffered an MCL injury in the season-opener against the Tennessee Titans.
Polamalu ran some last week, but is looking to take it one step further this week with limited participation in individual drills.
"Troy has been doing well and progressing well," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "He may participate in a limited basis tomorrow in practice with a brace on in some individuals to see how he runs around and changes direction. Last week he ran some in a straight line to some pretty solid reviews. We'll take another step and see where he is. Anticipate him participating in a limited fashion, in some form or fashion here, maybe as soon as tomorrow."
As far as his availability for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions, it will all depend on how he responds in practice.
"What that means for his game participation is unclear at this point," said Tomlin. "We just want to get him out on the practice field and see how he responds to that and then kind of proceed from there."
Running back Willie Parker will likely be limited in practice early in the week as he continues to recover from turf toe, which kept him out of the San Diego game. In his absence Rashard Mendenhall has a break out game with 165 yards rushing and will get the call again if Parker can't go.
"We hadn't pondered the division of labor to this point," said Tomlin. "The most important thing is we find out the level of availability for Willie and then we will make that determination. At this point the ball is in Rashard's hands until we get further information in regards to Willie Parker."
Rookie tight end David Johnson is expected to return to practice this week, something that Tomlin is looking forward to as he likes what he saw early on from the young player.
Safety Ryan Clark (lower back strain), linebacker Andre Frazier (right shoulder AC sprain) and Chris Kemoeatu (left ankle) will all be limited in practice early in the week.