"It's definitely torn," Tomlinson said after sitting out Wednesday's practice. "I can't really elaborate on it because I don't want to give too much information away."
"If it was a strain, I'd be able to play with it, trust me," Tomlinson said. "A lot of guys have strains."
Tomlinson said this injury has been tougher than any he has ever had during his eight-year NFL career.
"It feels like something is tearing away from my leg. That's how I know that it's messed up because before, when I've had groin injuries, I haven't felt that," Tomlinson said. "Whenever you feel a popping or like it's tearing, that's usually not good."
NFL teams don't give an injured player's status until Friday. But Tomlinson said his status is doubtful, meaning there's a 75 percent chance he won't play against the Steelers.
"That's pretty much what I feel like I'm at," Tomlinson said.
Has he been ruled out of the game?
"No. Not yet," he added.
"I think it's possible," he said. "I'm never going to rule it out. I'll have to start to feel much better, though."
Tomlinson said there's a chance he could make the injury worse if he continued to play "and do some of the things I have to do. Who knows how much? Once again, I don't even know if it's going to require surgery."
Tomlinson had a 13-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage Saturday night, but he said his leg was dragging.
"That's why I said earlier that that game was just all pure determination of trying to just push it and trying to do as much as I could and go. But it was clear from the first carry that I couldn't pick my leg up and explode and it did feel like it was dragging."
While happy with the team's success, Tomlinson said it's frustrating dealing with another injury in the playoffs. Last season, he sprained his left knee in a divisional game against the Colts, then aggravated it and missed the final three and a half quarters of the AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots.
"I don't think anybody can know the frustration, to be honest with you," Tomlinson said. "It's tough dealing with it. I really sometimes just want to go home and just stay at home and lock myself up and not even go into public, just because all my life, all I've ever wanted to do is play football and, you know, win a championship. And to feel so helpless, to be at this point where we have a chance to do it and again, I can't do anything about it, I can't play, it's like I'm being punished for something. It's tough to deal with."
Limited early during the season by a toe injury, Tomlinson gained a career-low 1,110 yards this season.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press