Steelers' Roethlisberger hopes ankle healed by Monday game

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sat out his third practice in a row on Thursday, hoping another 24 hours of rest will help him avoid missing his first start due to injury in more than two years.

"The goal is, as soon as possible, to get in there and get in as much work as I can," Roethlisberger said.

Roethlisberger sprained his left ankle during the second quarter of last Thursday night's 14-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns. He missed two series but played the entire second half.

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said the Steelers could wait until after warm-ups ahead of their Monday night game at San Francisco to make a decision about Roethlisberger. Veteran Charlie Batch will get the call if Roethlisberger can't go.

"If this was just a matter of pain, I'd be out there, but it's being physically unable to do certain things," Roethlisberger said.

Arians acknowledged that Roethlisberger would have had to work exclusively out of the shotgun had he tried to practice Thursday. Roethlisberger was able to get under center and take snaps during the second half against the Browns, but he chalked that up to the heat of the moment.

"The second half of that game, you're playing off adrenaline, you're playing off emotion," he said. "The next couple days after that, I just kind of shook my head because I couldn't have done it. I don't know how I did."

Roethlisberger was at least able to briefly shed the walking boot he's gingerly hobbled around in for the previous six days. However, he said he has caught himself "every once in awhile turning it sideways or doing something and it almost puts me to the ground."

Roethlisberger is just one of a handful of regulars who may be out. Linebacker James Harrison is still waiting to see if his one-game suspension for a series of illegal hits on defenseless players will be overturned, while center Maurkice Pouncey is nursing his own left ankle sprain and joined Roethlisberger in the training room Thursday.

Safety Troy Polamalu (hamstring), right tackle Marcus Gilbert (illness) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (right foot) also did not participate in practice, though Polamalu and Gilbert are expected to play.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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