Roethlisberger practices Friday; expects to play Sunday

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger practiced on Friday after sitting out two days because of a sore right shoulder, a sign he expects to play Sunday against Jacksonville.

Steelers players normally must take part in the final full practice of the week on Fridays before they can play on Sundays.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin downplayed Roethlisberger's sore shoulder earlier in the week, saying the injury wasn't significant. However, Roethlisberger's absence from practice on Thursday was a surprise that raised questions about whether he would play.

Roethlisberger, listed as questionable on the injury report, has started the Steelers' last 28 games.

Roethlisberger felt soreness in his throwing shoulder during the Steelers' 34-13 loss Sunday at New England, but never left the game.

The Jaguars and Steelers have 9-4 records and the game could affect the AFC playoff pairings.

Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch, a combined 3-0 as a starter in 2005 and 2006, ran the starting offense in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Batch hasn't started since throwing three touchdown passes against Miami in a season-opening 28-17 victory last year.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.

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