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Tomlin optimistic Big Ben can prep for 49ers on limited reps

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin considers Ben Roethlisbeger day to day this week as he recovers from a left ankle injury, but knows his quarterback won't need much practice time to play against the San Francisco 49ers.

Tomlin told Bay Area reporters during a conference call Wednesday that Roethlisberger would not require a lot of practice time this week to be prepared to face the 49ers on Monday night, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"He can be ready to play on a limited number of snaps," Tomlin said. "At the end of the week when we get into some situational football things, that's going to require some physical preparation in some form or fashion. But we're going to take it day by day. We're always going to be optimistic when it comes to Ben."

Roethlisberger left last Thursday's 14-3 win over the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter, but returned to throw for 178 yards and a touchdown during the second half.

Roethlisberger hasn't practiced since his injury and declined to talk to reporters Wednesday as he sported a walking boot while walking with a noticeable limp out of the team's facility. Tomlin said Tuesday that Roethlisberger was working "tirelessly" to be on the field against the 49ers, but that he would have to practice at some point this week in order to play. He will be evaluated throughout the week before a decision is made.

Center Maurkice Pouncey is also dealing with a sprained left ankle but is hopeful to play. So is linebacker LaMarr Woodley (strained left hamstring) and safety Troy Polamalu (right hamstring). Polamalu didn't practice on Wednesday but expects to try later in the week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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