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Injury bug bites other AFC North teams too.

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The Bengals aren't rowing the injury boat alone. In fact out of all these cases, Cincinnati's looks the least severe.

The Steelers:

Despite unusual training, Polamalu hurt again

By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer

LATROBE, Pa. (AP)—Every extended workout, every running session, every climb up a hillside in weighted shoes was designed for Troy Polamalu to get back to being Troy Polamalu.

Most of all, that meant getting back to being a healthy Polamalu—not the patched-up, oft-injured, can’t-seem-to-get-well Polamalu who appeared in 12 Pittsburgh Steelers games last season but played up to his expected level in few of them.

So, after an offseason back in Los Angeles working out the way he did as one of college football’s top defensive players at Southern Cal, what happened to Polamalu mere days before training camp began?

The four-time Pro Bowl safety pulled his left hamstring while running and couldn’t take part in the first two camp practices Monday.

After a season in which knee, rib and abdominal injuries visibly affected Polamalu’s play—he hasn’t had an interception since midway through the 2006 season—Polamalu was certain all these injuries were behind him.

Polamalu sailed through the eight 100-yard sprints that were required Sunday by coach Mike Tomlin, but the Steelers didn’t want to take a chance with one of their most valuable players so early in camp.

“I want to practice,” Polamalu said Monday. “But I’ll do whatever coach tells me to do. He’s been around a long time. So has (trainer) John Norwig, so I’ll defer to them on this. But I want to practice.”

Tomlin said Polamalu “is in great shape,” but he is understandably wary about any injury given Polamalu’s run of problems last season.

On the first day of camp a year ago, Polamalu signed a $30.19 million, four-year contract that made him the highest paid player in team history—at least until quarterback Ben Roethlisberger agreed earlier this year to a deal that could pay him as much as $102 million.

Living up to that contract isn’t what motivates Polamalu. Rather, it’s playing up to the standards set by a multidimensional, motivated player who creates matchup problems for offenses because of his ability to line up at so many positions.

That’s why after having offseason knee surgery Polamalu decided to return to training the way he has most of his career. So he skipped all the Steelers’ offseason practices and the traditional training and weightlifting, and went back to working with his former trainer.

“I talked with coach (Tomlin) because I don’t want to do anything against the team,” Polamalu said. “They’re very supportive of me and the training I wanted to do. I’d trained like that for seven years but, coming off the injury, it gave me an opportunity to take more time to rehab and just train.”

An interesting twist: Marv Marinovich, the former Southern Cal and Oakland Raiders player and conditioning coach with whom Polamalu has long trained, promises on his Web site that his workouts mean “you’ll avoid the injury bug. No more pulls or strains.”

Marinovich’s workouts are designed to boost speed, jumping ability and football-required strength but are nontraditional, with an emphasis on reducing the stress and strain that can be caused by heavy weightlifting.

Rather than bench pressing 350 pounds, for example, Polamalu will run in weighted shoes or lift a minimal amount of weight in short bursts.

Polamalu did slightly more weight training than he once did, but only to add weight. He is back to his preferred weight of 215 pounds after playing at 205 the last two seasons.

Polamalu called Marinovich’s program “very awesome” and doesn’t believe training away from the Steelers had anything to do with his latest injury. He can only hope he is getting his injuries out of the way early this season.

“When there’s an injury like this, it’s always best to take the safe route because it’s a very long season,” he said. “If you continue to re-injure it this early, there’s no telling how bad it could really get. So, if there’s any down time that’s good, it’s right now.”

The Browns:

Knee injuries slowing expected return of Cleveland Browns receiver Joe Jurevicius

Joe Jurevicius' status for the season is up in the air, Browns General Manager Phil Savage said Wednesday.

Jurevicius (knee) and offensive lineman Ryan Tucker (hip) were both placed on the active/physically unable to perform list, where they will remain until after the first cut to 75 on Aug. 26, Savage said.

When asked if he'll have them both for the season, Savage sounded more optimistic about Tucker than Jurevicius, who's undergone four surgeries in the off-season, including three to remove staph from the scoped knee.

"We feel good about where [Tucker] is," said Savage. "I think we're a little further down the line in terms of where he is recovery-wise. With Joe, it's a little up in the air right now. Unfortunately, it took a turn for the worse while we were gone on vacation, but we're still hopeful to have him. It could be for the first part of the season, it might be a little later down the line."

Savage said the two will remain on the active/PUP list through that first roster cut so they don't have to count against the 80-player limit. If they're placed on PUP to start the season, they'll have to miss at least the first six weeks. At this point, that looks like the likely option for Jurevicius.

Stallworth stalled:

Receiver Donte Stallworth suffered a hamstring injury a few days ago while working out on his own to get ready for camp. He will be limited for a few days, Savage said. Stallworth was replaced in the starting lineup by free agent pickup Kevin Kasper, a five-year veteran.

"He's a little sore," said coach Romeo Crennel of Stallworth. "When he's ready, he'll be back."

Stallworth, walking into the facility for treatment after practice, declined to comment, saying Crennel has asked the players not to discuss their injuries.

The Ravens:

Ravens Lose Ngata to Injury

Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was carted off the field yesterday with an injured right leg after getting caught in a pileup during a full-contact drill in Westminster, Md. Ngata was on the ground for several minutes before limping with assistance to the sideline, where he was then driven off the field.

"We don't think it's serious, but we've got to find out as we go," Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said.

Ngata's injury was the latest in a long list during Harbaugh's first week of training camp. Running back Willis McGahee didn't practice because of a lower left leg injury, and tackle Jared Gaither didn't practice after spraining his right ankle Saturday.

"He woke up and it was swollen," Harbaugh said of Gaither, who is vying to fill the void left by the retirement of Jonathan Ogden. "They're evaluating it still."

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The Ravens had a couple other guys go down, too didn't they?

Baltimore is loosing players at an alarming rate:

Ravens’ latest injury weakens offensive line

WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP)—Baltimore Ravens starting offensive tackle Adam Terry was carted off the field Tuesday morning at McDaniel College, clutching his leg and screaming in pain after spraining his left ankle.

Terry flipped over running back Ray Rice.

It’s not believed to be a season-ending or long-term injury. An MRI exam revealed the sprain, but it initially alarmed the Ravens because Terry had his left ankle surgically repaired in January.

“It’s not a major injury,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “He’ll be back.”

Terry didn’t put any weight on the injured limb and was yelling and pounding his fist into the ground after getting hurt during the contact drill.

Terry is the Ravens’ second starting tackle to be hurt seriously in the past four days. He shifted from right tackle to the left side to take over for tackle Jared Gaither, who is out indefinitely with a sprained right ankle and has his leg in an elaborate walking boot.

Former practice squad lineman Mike Kracalik filled in at left tackle for the rest of practice, with third-round pick Oniel Cousins running with the No. 1 offense at right tackle.

“I’m not sure what you can attribute it to, but we’re going hard and we want to go hard,” center Jason Brown said. “It’s a consequence of the game.”

After Terry’s injury, general manager Ozzie Newsome was on the field making calls on his cell phone after talking with Harbaugh.

The Ravens considering signing former Raiders tackle Barry Sims this summer, but he opted to sign with the 49ers.

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata confirmed he has a mild sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

“It’s just a little minor thing,” said Ngata, who is wearing a brace on his leg. “It’s just a speed bump that I’m trying to get over. I’ll be back sooner than you guys think.”

Running back Willis McGahee (left knee) was limited in practice, taking some snaps early and then watching. Nose guard Kelly Gregg returned after experiencing swelling in his left leg Monday. Wide receiver Derrick Mason left the field and had his right knee wrapped, but it’s not believed to be serious. Wide receiver Patrick Carter’s left arm is in a sling and he’s not practicing.

Also not practicing: safety Ed Reed (physically unable to perform list, undisclosed); running backs P.J. Daniels (cramps) and Cory Ross (arm); fullback Justin Green (undisclosed); wide receiver Demetrius Williams (PUP, leg); tight end Aaron Walker (leg); Gaither, Ngata, tight end Daniel Wilcox (PUP, offseason toe surgery); and cornerback Samari Rolle (bereavement)

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The Steelers just lost their punter for the year...


Steelers P Sepulveda expected to miss season

LATROBE, Pa. (AP)—Pittsburgh Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the second time in three years and is expected to miss the season.

Sepulveda tore the ligament on the first day of practice Monday. The Steelers used undrafted rookie kicker Julian Rauch of Appalachian State as their practice punter Tuesday, but claimed former Broncos punter Paul Ernster on waivers from Detroit.

The Steelers traded a sixth-round draft pick last year to move up in the fourth round and draft Sepulveda, a former Baylor star who is the only two-time winner of the Ray Guy award as the nation’s top college punter. The Steelers had drafted only one other punter in their history.

Sepulveda averaged 42.4 yards and placed 28 of 68 punts inside the 20 as a rookie last season, so the Steelers didn’t bother bringing a second punter to camp.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Sepulveda is expected to have surgery in the next few days. He first tore the ligament while playing pickup basketball at Baylor in April 2006, but returned—too early as far as his doctors were concerned— to punt in the school’s season opener that September.

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