Some reports have surfaced that the game-changing safety could be out for the season with a strained right Achilles' tendon and a sore calf. However, the Steelers are confident that Polamalu will be ready for the playoffs.
Also, with the Steelers' following game being played on a short week -- Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers -- the team will wait to determine its playoff situation before deciding whether or not to play Polamalu. If the Steelers have the AFC North title wrapped up, then in all likelihood, Polamalu wouldn't play until January.
"We'll have him back for the playoffs," the source said, "and sooner if it makes sense."
Also, Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith continues his recovery from a torn tricep. He started lifting weights a few weeks ago and now is working on returning to game shape after missing most of the regular season. He was injured in Week 7.
"He's doing great," the source said of Smith. "He'll be ready for the playoffs."