Steelers likely to get Ward, Holmes and Polamalu back from injuries

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers bye week allowed three of the team's four injured starters who sat out their 21-0 victory over Seattle on Oct. 7 a chance to heal.

Wide receivers Hines Ward (sprained knee) and Santonio Holmes (hamstring) and safety Troy Polamalu not only are expected to play, but likely will practice all week. Ward would return after missing two games.

Nose tackle Casey Hampton (hamstring) will take it easy in practice on Wednesday, but head coach Mike Tomlin is hopeful he will play. Backup cornerback Bryant McFadden (sprained ankle) probably won't go.

Polamalu and Holmes have improved to the point where they probably won't be listed among the injured, Tomlin said. Of course, Polamalu and Hampton weren't on Tomlin's initial injury list two weeks ago and neither played against Seattle.

Ward will be welcomed back by running back Willie Parker as much as he will be by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Ward's downfield blocking is a key to the Steelers' running game, and Parker had his only game with fewer than 100 yards rushing when Ward was out.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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