Steelers coach Mike Tomlin expects to have his starting quarterback for next week's divisional clash against the 6-0 Cincinnati Bengals.

Tomlin said after Sunday's 23-13 loss to the Chiefs that Ben Roethlisberger -- out since Week 3 with a knee injury -- was close to playing, but the team ultimately decided to hold off another week.

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"It was close, but in the end we decided to go with the guy that had the practice reps," Tomlin said via the team's official website. "That was the appropriate thing to do. No second-guessing. We'll move forward with Ben as we prepare this week."

Roethlisberger practiced on a limited basis throughout the week and was upgraded to questionable after Friday's session. If Roethlisberger's knee responds favorably throughout the coming week, Tomlin believes he'll have his quarterback back after a four-plus-game absence.

"I do, as I sit here today, but I don't know what the reaction to the next week's work is going to mean to him," Tomlin said when asked if he thinks Roethlisberger will be ready. "I say that with the understanding that how his knee reacts to the work we give him could play into it as well."

The Steelers went 2-2 in Roethlisberger's absence. Third-string quarterback Landry Jones was 16 of 29 for 209 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in his first NFL start Sunday in Kansas City. Mike Vick, who started the previous three games, was sidelined with a hamstring injury.

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