For the third consecutive game, the Steelers will be without their star quarterback. At least it appears as if they’ll have the quarterback of their defense and the reigning team MVP back on the field.
Ben Roethlisberger will not play Sunday in Baltimore, meaning Charlie Batch will make his second consecutive start at quarterback for the Steelers (6-5), who have lost each of the first two games Roethlisberger missed.
Roethlisberger threw briefly early in practice Friday but was in a sweat suit watching by the time practice ended. He will miss a third consecutive game since sustaining a sprained right shoulder and a dislocated rib in a 16-13 win against Kansas City Nov. 12.
Unlike a defeat at home two weeks ago to the rival Ravens (9-2) and an upset loss this past Sunday in Cleveland, however, the Steelers likely will have safety Troy Polamalu and receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) in uniform and active.
Brown confirmed he will play against the Ravens but added “I’m definitely sore, definitely feeling it right now.’’
Polamalu has not played a full game since the opener in Denver because of a right calf injury. He returned to play against the Philadelphia Eagles Oct. 7 but left in the first quarter when he aggravated the injury. Without him, though, the Steelers have ascended to No. 1 rankings in total defense and in passing defense.
‘‘It means a lot [having Polamalu back], getting leadership and stability out there again,’’ defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau said. ‘‘Our guys have done a good job without him. I don’t think he will be able to be out there every snap but he is going to be able to take a significant role. Let’s face it: When you can have him on the field, it’s a plus for us.’’
Bengals’ Sanu out for year
Bengals rookie wide receiver Mohamed Sanu could miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot, coach Marvin Lewis said. Sanu caught a touchdown pass in each of the last three games, including two in last week’s 34-10 win over the Raiders. The Bengals won all three games to get back into the AFC wild-card race . . . Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said it ‘‘looks like’’ injured running back DeMarco Murray will end a six-game absence Sunday against Philadelphia. Jones said on his radio show that Murray didn’t have the usual setbacks associated with someone returning to practice for the first time in weeks. Murray was a limited participant at practice Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday . . . Rookies Nick Foles and Bryce Brown will be starting again Sunday night when the struggling Eagles visit Dallas because quarterback Michael Vick and running LeSean McCoy are still sidelined by concussions. Vick is missing his third straight game and McCoy his second . . . Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin is listed as doubtful to play the rival Packers on Sunday because of a sprained left ankle. . . . The Bears ruled out return specialist and receiver Devin Hester and guard Chris Spencer for Sunday’s game against Seattle but said linebacker Lance Briggs and running back Matt Forte expect to be ready after injuring ankles against Minnesota . . . Jaguars receivers Justin Blackmon (groin) and Cecil Shorts III (hamstring) returned to practice and were listed as probable for Sunday’s game at Buffalo . . . Redskins linebacker London Fletcher (sprained ankle) and left tackle Trent Williams (leg, shoulder) remain hobbled ahead of Monday night’s game against the Giants. Fletcher has played in 235 consecutive games, tied for the longest streak among active NFL players . . . Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow is questionable for the Jets’ game Sunday against the Cardinals because of two broken ribs that limited him all week . . . Four Raiders and one Bengal were fined $26,250 each for fighting in last Sunday’s game. Cincinnati tackle Andrew Whitworth and Oakland defensive linemen Desmond Bryant, Lamarr Houston, Tommy Kelly, and Matt Shaughnessy drew the fines.
49ers’ Dobbs arrestedThe California Highway Patrol arrested 49ers defensive end Demarcus Dobbs early Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana. Police said Dobbs was involved in a single-car accident in which he hit a chain-link fence but didn’t sustain any injuries. The arrest came on the 25th birthday for Dobbs, one of the NFC West-leading Niners’ top special teams players. The 49ers said Dobbs wouldn’t travel with the team Friday to St. Louis, where San Francisco faces the Rams on Sunday . . . The Raiders suspended linebacker Rolando McClain for two games for conduct detrimental to the team after sending him home from practice earlier in the week. ‘‘I’m not going to get into any of the specifics of anything that happened, that went into the decision,’’ coach Dennis Allen said. . . . Titus Young had little to say about his brief exile from the Lions. The receiver spoke for the first time since returning to practice Wednesday. He was deactivated for Detroit’s loss to Houston on Thanksgiving for what coach Jim Schwartz called ‘‘unacceptable’’ behavior during a loss to Green Bay two weeks ago.
Two Saints attend hearing
Saints defensive end Will Smith said he’s glad he got a chance to hear former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams testify at an appeals hearing in the bounties case. Smith and New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma attended Friday’s session in Washington, where Williams was cross-examined by the players’ lawyers for about four hours . . . First-time candidates John Lynch, Michael Strahan, Jonathan Ogden, Morten Andersen, Larry Allen, and Warren Sapp were among 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2013 class.