Steelers' Parker could miss fourth straight game

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker unexpectedly did not practice Friday because of ongoing problems with his sprained left knee and is unlikely to play Sunday against the New York Giants.

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes also was held out of practice and will be deactivated Sunday after city police stopped his car and smelled burning marijuana Thursday. Holmes, a former first-round draft pick, will be charged with a marijuana-related misdemeanor count.

"His situation has created somewhat of a distraction and we want to minimize that as much as we can and remain focused," coach Mike Tomlin said Friday.

Holmes will be replaced by Nate Washington, who has two touchdown catches in his last two games.

Parker has missed three games with a sprained medial collateral ligament, but practiced earlier in the week and was expected to be ready for the matchup of teams with 5-1 records. He is listed as doubtful.

Parker would be replaced by Mewelde Moore, who began the season as the third-down back, but has rushed for 219 yards in the last two games. Moore gained 120 yards and scored three touchdowns, one on a pass reception, during a 38-10 win in Cincinnati last Sunday.

Until he was in the lineup in Jacksonville on Oct. 5, Moore had not started since 2005 when he was with Minnesota.

Two other Steelers starters also didn't practice Friday: left tackle Marvel Smith, who will miss a second successive game because of back spasms, and defensive end Aaron Smith.

Smith, one of the top players on the Steelers' league-leading defense, has not practiced all week for undisclosed reasons. Normally, Steelers players who do not practice all week do not play in that game, but Smith is listed as questionable.

Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu practiced Friday and is expected to play. He incurred at least the seventh concussion of his career during the Cincinnati game.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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