By Danny Cox
The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to do anything and everything it takes to get through the divisional round of the playoffs and into the AFC Conference Championship. In order to do that, they will have to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs for the second time this season. The first time, Pittsburgh was able to manhandle the Chiefs in an easy victory, but a lot has changed since then and differences can be seen on both sides of the field.
One thing known for sure this week is that linebacker Anthony Chickillo is out again for the Steelers with a lingering ankle injury that has kept him off of the practice field and out of games. Chickillo has not played since the Steelers defeated the Ravens back on Christmas Day.
Defensively, the Steelers will likely be without defensive end Ricardo Mathews as well. Mathews is also dealing with an ankle injury that he suffered in the season finale against the Cleveland Browns. He is listed as questionable, but after missing the majority of practice this week, it isn’t expected that he will play.
Tight end Ladarius Green is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol and missed all of practice again this week; he has been out for the Steelers’ last three games. Pittsburgh has him listed as doubtful, but there is virtually no chance that he’s going to be on the field against the Chiefs.
Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion) missed practice on Wednesday, but was back on the field later in the week and will be able to play as needed. Ben Roethlisberger was in a walking boot after last week’s win over the Miami Dolphins, but he was a full participant in practice from Thursday on, so he will be fine for Sunday night.
Chiefs could have major weapons back on the field for the first time in weeks
Linebacker Justin Houston missed the first two-and-a-half months of the season due to injuries. More recently, he has been off the field since mid-December because of a knee injury. But by Thursday, he was practicing in full for the Kansas City Chiefs. It looks as if he is healthy and ready to play this Sunday against the Steelers.
As it currently stands, the Chiefs will likely have Justin Houston and Tamba Hali (knee) rotating in and out opposite linebacker Dee Ford. The three of them racked up a total of 17.5 sacks this season, and that was even with a number of games missed due to injuries.
It also looks as if safety Eric Berry (Achilles) and running back Spencer Ware (rib) will be ready for Pittsburgh as well. They both were on the field for practice on Wednesday and went fully through the rest of the week.
- (LB) Anthony Chickillo (Ankle) – Did Not Participate In Practice
- (TE) Ladarius Green (Concussion) – Did Not Participate In Practice
- (DE) Ricardo Mathews (ankle) – Did Not Participate In Practice
- (RB) Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion) – Limited Participation In Practice