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Roethlisberger remains gimpy

PITTSBURGH — Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger practiced Thursday but remains bothered by a sprained left ankle heading into Sunday's game at Denver.

"He's moving around okay," Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. "Not as good as he was but okay."

Roethlisberger was hurt Dec. 8 against the Browns. He played the following game, sat out the next one and aggravated the injury during the season finale.

The injury limits Roethlisberger's mobility, but Arians said there are no plans to start 37-year-old Charlie Batch.

Not as good news: Steelers Pro Bowl C Maurkice Pouncey did not practice after his sprained left ankle developed additional soreness. Arians said he's concerned the former Gator might not be able to play. "I'm aggravated with it. I'm kind of stressed about it," said Pouncey, who has missed two games because of the injury. "I mean an injury prolonged this long is aggravating. Hopefully, I can push through it and see how this week goes."

Lots of yards, but … : The Broncos had the best running game in the league at 164.5 yards per game. But they scored just 11 rushing touchdowns, six by scrambling QB Tim Tebow. The other four seasons in which the Broncos rushed for at least 2,450 yards, they scored 20, 25, 26 and 15 rushing touchdowns.

Then there is the passing, which at 152.1 yards per game was better than only the Jaguars.

"(The running game has) definitely helped us get to where we are," coach John Fox said. "We're doing it against loaded boxes, which is why we need to get the other phase of our offense rolling."

Bengal back: Bengals QB Andy Dalton returned to practice after missing a day because of the flu. The rookie said his illness came on suddenly and he went to a hospital in order to recover quicker. He was eating again Thursday and watched video of Wednesday's practice.

Texan back: Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips revealed he had gall bladder surgery. Phillips, 64, went on medical leave Dec. 14 and missed two games. He returned last week and worked from the press box, which he will do again Saturday.

Phillips said his energy level remains low but didn't disclose details about his condition.

"The bottom line is I'm fine," he said. "Things are progressing well, and it's going to take me about six weeks total to get full energy back and be moving around and start lifting and things like that."

Feeling okay: WR Andre Johnson missed nine games because of hamstring issues. But he said he feels healthy just in time for the most important game of his career: the Texans' first playoff game. "I always said that I wanted to … help this organization get to their first playoff appearance and, hopefully, win their first Super Bowl," said Johnson, drafted out of Miami in 2003 and who signed an extension in 2010. "I didn't think it would take this long, but we're here now."

Roethlisberger remains gimpy 01/05/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 5, 2012 9:39pm]
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