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Roethlisberger likely to wear shield on helmet

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent surgery on Monday after suffering a broken nose against the Ravens, but he isn't expected to miss any playing time.

Roethlisberger, who was scheduled to have the gauze removed on Tuesday, will take an extra precaution to protect the nose.

"The only adjustment is that he is going to probably wear a clear shield on his helmet to protect him from that standpoint," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "I am sure there is going to be some level of discomfort. I don't think it's going to keep him out of football in any form or fashion."

Roethlisberger was injured when he was hit in the facemask by Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who was not penalized for the hit but was fined $15,000 by the NFL.

While Roethlisberger isn't expected to miss any time, the same can't definitely be said for tight end Heath Miller. Miller suffered a concussion when Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain applied a helmet-to-helmet hit.

"Heath is experiencing some discomfort that goes along with concussions," said Tomlin. "His availability might be doubtful this week. We'll see if it picks up as the week goes on. I haven't talked to him personally so I am hesitant about describing what those symptoms are.

"If we are going to err we are going to err on the side of caution when it comes to a player's health. That is the appropriate thing to do."

McClain wasn't penalized either, but he was fined $40,000 by the NFL for the hit.   

Tackle Flozell Adams suffered a mild high ankle sprain, forcing him to leave the Ravens game early. His status is not known at this point.

"We'll see how it limits him in the early portion of the week and let that determine whether or not he is available to us," said Tomlin.

If he can't go, Trai Essex would start.

"Trai finished the game and did a nice job for us," said Tomlin. "He is the first man off the bench. We'll see where the week takes us."   

Safety Troy Polamalu will continue to be limited in practice because of an ankle injury, but it will not impact him playing on Sunday against the Bengals.

"We are going to take the similar approach with Troy in terms of his potential practice participation in the early part of the week like we have done the last several weeks," said Tomlin. "It seems to be serving him and us well."

The team expects to get tight end Matt Spaeth back this week. Spaeth suffered a concussion against Oakland and has missed the last two games.

"Matt got a clean bill of health," said Tomlin. "He has been fully cleared and is going to practice and participate on Wednesday. That is encouraging."

Tomlin also provided an update on defensive end Aaron Smith, who has been sidelined since he injured his triceps against Miami on Oct. 24. "Aaron had an MRI and he is doing pretty good," said Tomlin. "He is going to take the next step and start lifting weights and take another MRI in two weeks and see where it takes us. We are encouraged by his progress. There is no setback in his recovery.

"It's time to take the next step and he will start tossing some weights around which is good news."

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