PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – There is no official word, but the Pittsburgh Steelers will likely be without Troy Polamalu for Thursday’s game against the (2-12) Carolina Panthers and the team’s final game against the Cleveland Browns.

Polamalu missed Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, due to a strained Achilles tendon he suffered earlier in the season.

When asked about Polmalu’s status, coach Mike Tomlin said, “Whether or not he plays or anyone else plays will be based solely on health. Troy’s experiencing some discomfort in his lower leg but, as soon as the discomfort subsides, he’ll be back in action. I think we’re moving closer to that. We’ll see where this week takes us.”

After the 22-17 loss, the Steelers might be asking themselves whether Polamalu would have made the difference in the game.

The Steelers’ record over the last two seasons proves that they are a different team when Polamalu is not playing.

The Steelers are 14-4 when Polamalu is starting at safety, but are just 5-7 when he is on the sideline.

Polamalu missed 11 games over the last two seasons with a knee injury.

Whether or not Polamalu is playing on Thursday, the Steelers have their destiny in their hands. Currently, the Steelers are second in AFC playoff picture with a 10-4 record and have a chance for a first-round bye.

If the Steelers win their final two game, they will lock up the second seed and the AFC North Title.

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