Published January 31, 2011
FORT WORTH, Texas – Maurkice Pouncey still has a shot at playing in the Super Bowl.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin would not rule out his Pro Bowl rookie center Monday, despite Pouncey having a high left ankle sprain. Pouncey needed crutches to walk down the steps from the team's charter flight in Dallas, and wore a bulky walking boot on his left foot.
"We've been very aggressive in terms of treating it," Tomlin said. "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."
Pouncey injured his ankle in Pittsburgh's 24-19 victory over the New York Jets in the AFC championship last Sunday. He did not practice at all last week, and Tomlin said Pouncey is "not on a running clock" until Wednesday — the team's first practice before the Super Bowl.
"We will remain hopeful," Tomlin said.
According to media reports, Pouncey also has a broken bone in the ankle — a report Tomlin would neither confirm nor deny.
"I'm sure it could be characterized as that," Tomlin said vaguely. "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."
Backup Doug Legursky, who lost out to Pouncey for the job in training camp, would fill in if necessary. Legursky is a former undrafted free agent from Marshall who was on the Steelers' practice squad during their last 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," offensive tackle Flozell 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 pick out of Florida 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.