Roethlisberger, Woodley latest Steelers to get hurt

LATROBE, Pa. -- The Pittsburgh Steelers finished an injury-filled opening week of training camp Saturday with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley both sidelined with sore groins.

Woodley sat out the second of the team's two practices, while Roethlisberger took part in some 7-on-7 passing drills but skipped the rest of the two-hour workout.

Coach Mike Tomlin's word of the day: Precautionary.

"He's day to day," Tomlin said of Roethlisberger, who signed a $102 million contract in March. "The 7-on-7 was it for him. We knew he was going to be a little sore coming out. He wanted to give it a go and see if he could get it warm, and he did as much as he could do. We exercised a little caution."

Asked if he was worried that Roethlisberger's injury might last past a couple of days, much like those of several other key starters, Tomlin replied, "No."

Still, the sideline was lined with starters at various times all week, including safety Troy Polamalu (hamstring), punter Daniel Sepulveda (knee), guard Chris Kemoeatu (triceps), linebacker James Farrior (hip flexor), Roethlisberger and Woodley. Also, Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton remains on the physically-unable-to-perform-list after reporting to training overweight. He has done nothing but conditioning drills.

Polamalu's injury occurred while he was running the week before camp and he has yet to practice. Sepulveda tore a knee ligament during the first full day of practice Monday and is expected to have season-ending knee surgery on Wednesday.

Despite the abundance of injuries, Tomlin said his team is ahead of last year's pace in areas such as pass protection -- even without All-Pro guard Alan Faneca, who is now with the Jets.

"This team is in great shape and it allowed us to get off to a good start," Tomlin said. "We've got a ways to go with some technical things, as does everybody. ... Defensively, we've got some young guys who are going to be key contributors. What we've seen to this point, we think we've got some young guys for what we believe is already a good defense."

Among them are Woodley and second-year linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who are getting much more time with the starters than they did last summer.

Nearly all of the regulars were held out of a Saturday morning workout in which rookie quarterback Dennis Dixon, a fifth-round pick from Oregon, took many of the snaps. The starters did not practice after going through a night workout at Latrobe High School on Friday.

"We came in this morning with a young-guy emphasis," Tomlin said.

Notes: Wide receiver Santonio Holmes remained out of camp after leaving Friday due because of a death in his family. He is expected back Sunday. ... Rookie center Doug Legursky was re-signed and rookie kicker Julian Rauch was released. The 6-foot-1, 323-pound Legursky signed in April as an undrafted rookie free agent but was released on June 29. He was a three-time all-Conference USA choice who started his final 32 games at Marshall. ... With Woodley out, outside linebacker James Harrison shifted sides and Timmons filled in at right outside linebacker.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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