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Insider Only Wednesday Practice Notebook: MRI shows McFadden can play with injury

By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers injury list looked the same way that it has in recent weeks with strong safety Troy Polamalu, cornerback Bryant McFadden and defensive end Aaron Smith all missing Wednesday’s workout.
Smith (right triceps) actually was listed as limited, but it’s hard to believe that he’ll be able to practice at all this week let alone play the next game. the Steelers (13-4) play host to the New York Jets (13-5) Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Heinz Field.
“We’ll see how things go and see what the doctors and trainers will do,” Smith said. “We’ll see how much they let me practice and what they allow me to do.”

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin noted that even if Smith can play this week, he’ll likely be on a snap count. That basically means he would be limited to how long he’ll be in the game.
“I’ve never been on a snap count, so that was kind of weird when I heard that,” Smith said. “Usually, when I come off the field it’s because I want to come off the field. So, it was kind of weird to hear that there is a snap count involved, but I guess it’s a possibility.
“That would be kind of weird to get to my limit (snap count), and then I’ll be done. Throw him off the field. He’s done. What if I knock them all out early in the game? Then, am I done for the rest of the game? I’ve never been on one before, so I really don’t know how that works.”
There’s obviously some concern whether Smith could re-injure his triceps and make things worse than they were before.
“I guess there’s always a possibility with an injury like this that I could do more damage, but we’ll see what happens this week,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of factors that go into this decision, so we’ll just have to wait to see how things go this week. (But) I think it’ll be good to get some snaps in this week.
“Also, I think that I’ve done this long enough, 12 years in this league, so it’s like riding a bike. It’s instinctual for me. I know what I’m doing out there, so I probably could play at 50 percent. That’s about right, but I really don’t know my percentage. And I don’t look at it that way.”
What’s amazing is that the Steelers have held a roster spot for Smith since his injury Oct. 24 at Miami.
“I really appreciate that they kept me around, even if I happen to not play another down this season,” Smith said. “It’s an honor to be part of what this team has accomplished so far and hopefully, I can be part of what they accomplish in the future, too. If not, OK, but if I do it’ll be unbelievable.
“The scan went all right, and it showed that we’re making progress. But it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. I would have liked them to tell me that I’m completely done. You don’t have to get any more scans or do anything else. You’re good to go. But that wasn’t the case.”
McFadden (abdomen) also had an MRI this week that enlightened him.
“I had an MRI, and it shows that this injury is something I’m going to have to deal with,” McFadden said. “What I want to do is get it to where it’s bearable so I can go out there and do my job. I guess the injuries lately are all tied in together. I first hurt my hip against Carolina, and from the hip problem came the Cleveland game and an abdomen problem.
“I think what happened is that I over-compensated for one body part to the other, and that’s why I got injured again. I felt pretty good (against the Ravens), backpedalling and covering, but during the second series I tried to cover an out. So, I tried to turn out with some speed and instantly felt pain that was uncomfortable. I got a shot, but I still was feeling some pain, some discomfort.
“So, that didn’t allow me to move the way I need to on the field,” McFadden added. “That’s what kept me from going back out there. But we’ll see where I am this week. It’s not like we play tomorrow, so I have a couple days here. And I believe there’s still a good chance that I’ll be able to play on Sunday.”
McFadden was surprised that he couldn’t respond when he tried to accelerate.
“I was, actually, because I took two shots and that didn’t seem to work,” McFadden said. “But from the MRI, I later found out that the situation was a little deeper than previously believed. So, the shots I took was not deep enough to numb it.
“I didn’t know that at the time, but I looked into it more because I was still feeling some pain. So, that’s the difference from last week to this week, and I hope that knowledge makes a difference. That’s why I’m optimistic that I’ll be ready to play by Sunday.”
Safety Will Allen (knee), a special teams performer, did not practice. He said he hopes to get some work later in the week and play Sunday. The same with wideout-special teams player Arnaz Battle (illness). Polamalu (Achilles) should practice Friday and play Sunday.
Don’t Mess With My Money
This note has been written on the Steelers locker-room blackboard for years. According to Casey Hampton, former cornerback Chad Scott used to write on the blackboard, referring to losing early in the playoffs.
“I put that up there, but Hines added the money (figures) up there,” Farrior said. “That’s been a saying around here for a long time. We’ve been to a few of these games, and if you can’t get motivated for that. So, money’s always a factor. Whatever it takes to motivate you, but if you’re thinking about the money then that’s what it is.
The note said “Don’t mess with my money. That’s what we’re all playing for.” The figures $142,000 (for the playoffs), $23,000 Super Bowl ring … and $59,000 already made before taxes.
Don’t mess with my money. That’s what we’re all playing for. $142,000. $23,000 Super Bowl ring. 50,000, 30,000; $59,000 already made before taxes.
“It’s up there every year, telling everybody that they need to be on their games,” LaMarr Woodley said. “It’s all about the ring, the trophy and the money. It’s pretty much the veteran guys tell us not to mess with their money, so I don’t want to mess with that.”
More Motivation
Woodley had T-shirts made with a Wolverine on the front, No. 56 and the saying: “I’m not an animal. I’m a beast.” He clearly was proud of it.
“Do you like that? It’s just something I came up with for the playoffs,” Woodley said. “I thought it was a perfect time for it. They tell me I always show up during the playoffs, so I just thought I’d show up with a T-shirt.”
Jets Injuries
Linebacker Jason Taylor did not practice Wednesday due to a concussion, but Jets coach Rex Ryan expected him to play Sunday.
Cornerback Drew Coleman (knee), safety james Ihedigbo (knee, ankle), cornerback Darrelle Revis (hamstring) and wideout Brad Smith (groin) were all limited.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie (groin), defensive tackle Mike Devito (neck), wideout Santonio Holmes (quad), center Nick Mangold (shoulder), defensive tackle Stone Pouha (back) and quarterback Mark Sanchez (right shoulder) were all full participants in practice.

About The Author

Dale Grdnic

TIOPS Steelers Beat Writer

Dale Grdnic is a contributor to Inside Pittsburgh Sports, covering the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Football. Dale has covered the Pittsburgh Sports scene for over 15 years with various publications

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