ESPN.com reports that in addition to missing Sunday’s game against the Jets, Troy Polamalu could be out for the rest of the regular season. He would probably not go on injured reserve. The Steelers could then wait and see what their likely spot in the playoffs will be and only play Polamalu against the Panthers and Browns if a win is especially critical.
This makes a lot of sense. The Steelers have a playoff spot all but wrapped up and, without wanting to count chickens before they hatch, it looks fairly likely that they’re going to win the AFC North as well. Hopefully they won’t need Polamalu to beat the Panthers and Browns anyway. Polamalu has been dealing with this nagging injury for quite a while now, and while it certainly hasn’t affected his spectacular play, it would be great to see him get healthy in time for the playoffs, and it would be very bad to lose him in a regular-season game that might not even turn out to be that important. If the Steelers do lose to the Jets, they may have to reevaluate, but if they win, I’m not sure there’s any good reason to play Polamalu the following week.