Tomlin: Steelers 'very aggressive' in ailing Pouncey's rehab

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin believes Maurkice Pouncey still can play in the Super Bowl, despite reports to the contrary.

During his arrival news conference, Tomlin refused to rule out his Pro Bowl rookie center, who has a high sprain and a broken bone in his left ankle. Pouncey needed crutches to walk down the steps from the team's charter plane, which arrived in Texas on Monday, and he wore a bulky walking boot on his left foot.

"We've been very aggressive in terms of treating it," Tomlin said in Fort Worth. "We've even been putting it in hard casts and so forth. Just trying to do everything in our power to give him the best opportunity to participate. I don't know what his chances are at this point."

NFL Network insider Albert Breer cited a source with knowledge of the situation in reporting Sunday that Pouncey is "highly doubtful" to play against the Green Bay Packers. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazettereported Monday that sources said Pouncey definitely won't play.

Pouncey injured his ankle during the Steelers' 24-19 victory over the New York Jets in the Jan. 23 AFC Championship Game. Pouncey didn't practice at all last week, and Tomlin said Monday that the rookie is "not on a running clock" until Wednesday -- the team's first practice before the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers in Arlington.

"We will remain hopeful," said Tomlin, who wouldn't confirm nor deny that Pouncey has a broken bone in the ankle.

"I'm sure it could be characterized as that," Tomlin said. "I'm sure I've got something floating around in my ankle. The issue that's keeping him from participating is the high ankle sprain."

Steelers offensive tackle Flozell Adams, a 13-year NFL veteran, knows the difficulty of playing with a high ankle sprain.

"I haven't had one in a while until this year," he said. "It's very difficult to move. You have to do the best you can to work around it.

"It's definitely a pain thing," Adams added. "You just have to suck it up and do the best you can."

Backup Doug Legursky, whom Pouncey beat out for the starting job in training camp, would fill in at center if necessary. Legursky, an undrafted player from Marshall, was on the Steelers' practice squad during their Super Bowl win two years ago.

"I don't think it's going to affect us at all personally because we have a lot of guys on this team, let alone the offensive line, that can come up and step up if one of the starters come down," Adams said. "So I have no shadow of a doubt that Doug will do just as good a job -- if not better than Pouncey -- being in there for this Super Bowl. And I mean that."

Legursky came in for Pouncey after the first-round draft pick went down early in the game against the Jets, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger fumbled an exchange that resulted in a safety. Still, Tomlin echoed Adams' confidence in Legursky, who started four games at right guard earlier this season when starter Trai Essex went down with an injury.

"We're comfortable if we have to go in that direction," Tomlin said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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