Steelers' Clark has spleen removed one day after going on IR

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Ryan Clark's spleen was removed during surgery Thursday, a day after he was placed on injured reserve.

Clark cannot play again this season, but is expected to resume his football career next year if he has no further complications. Clark had problems with his spleen while he was with the Washington Redskins, but they did not prevent him from playing a full season with Pittsburgh in 2006.

The problem recurred during the Steelers' Oct. 21 game against the Broncos, aggravated by Denver's altitude, according to the team. The 28-year-old Clark was forced to stay an extra night in Denver when his spleen became inflamed, and he did not play in the Steelers' last three games.

Clark joined the Steelers as a free agent in 2006, following Chris Hope's signing with the Tennessee Titans.

The Steelers have replaced Clark with Anthony Smith, a third-round draft pick in 2006.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.

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