The Pittsburgh Steelers have listed Maurkice Pouncey as questionable for next weekend's Super Bowl. But the truth, a source with knowledge of the situation said Sunday, is that it's "highly doubtful" the Pro Bowl rookie center will dress for the game.
In addition to a high sprain, Pouncey has a fracture in his left ankle. He spent the week on crutches with his left leg in a hard plaster cast, although that is procedural to a certain degree to immobilize the ankle.
Steelers left guard Chris Kemoeatu said Wednesday that Pouncey wouldn't play, but he backtracked on those comments the next day. Steelers right tackle Willie Colon also said Wednesday that Pouncey had been ruled out of the game.
With Pouncey out, second-year pro Doug Legursky would start at center for the Steelers. He replaced Pouncey in the first quarter of last Sunday's AFC Championship Game and made one mistake, botching a center-quarterback exchange that led to a New York Jets safety in the fourth quarter.
"We believe in Doug," Kemoeatu said Wednesday. "Obviously, Doug stepped up huge when Maurkice got hurt last week."
Colon concurred, saying: "We got a lot of trust in Doug Legursky. We know he's going to step in and do a great job."
Pouncey had to be helped off the field against the Jets after linebacker Bryan Thomas was pushed into him. Thomas rolled over the back of Pouncey's leg on a 7-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Hines Ward.
Pouncey didn't put weight on the ankle as he hopped off the field with the aid of two trainers. He later was carted to the locker room, where CBS cameras showed him walking with the aid of crutches.
Pouncey, a first-round draft pick out of Florida, hasn't missed a game all season and received Pro Bowl honors for his solid play with the AFC North champions. He vowed after the Jets game that he would play in the Super Bowl.