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Report: Injury slowed Polamalu in playoffs; no surgery needed

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  • By NFL.com
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It wasn't a secret that Troy Polamalu played without his trademark quickness and burst during the Pittsburgh Steelers' run to Super Bowl XLV.

It's now clear why that was the case.

Sources confirmed to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday that the six-time Pro Bowl safety never fully recovered from the Achilles' tendon injury he suffered during a Week 14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Polamalu hurt himself while making the type of impact play that earned him The Associated Press' 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.

Polamalu injured the Achilles as he approached the end zone to score a touchdown off an interception return. He dove toward the pylon for the TD, but he limped off the field in obvious discomfort. He had entered the game with a calf injury in the same leg, according to the Post-Gazette.

Polamalu, 29, missed subsequent games against the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers before returning for the regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns. He had an interception on the Browns' first offensive series.

However, Polamalu struggled to play up to his normal standards in the playoffs, failing to make an interception and managing just 10 tackles as Pittsburgh advanced to the Super Bowl but lost. To protect their star asset and perserve him for game days, the Steelers held Polamulu out of practice every day but Fridays.

Fortunately for Polamalu and the Steelers, the safety will not need surgery and is instead receiving treatment and rehabilitating the Achilles in Los Angeles. He's under the care of a orthopedic surgeon who has ties to the Steelers' medical staff.

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