Knee injury might keep Steelers QB on sideline

By wire services
Published September 16, 2005

PITTSBURGH - Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was downgraded to questionable on Thursday with a bruised knee bone.

"He worked a little bit but not as much as I hoped he would," coach Bill Cowher said. "There's not really any kind of setback. "He has just not responded as quickly as I had hoped."

Roethlisberger was 9-for-11 with two touchdowns in Sunday's 34-7 win over Tennessee and had a perfect 158.3 rating, the NFL's first since 2003. He is 14-0 as a starter during the regular season.

While Cowher said Roethlisberger's left knee is hurt, he was seen wrapping his right leg, with which he plants, before practice.

If Roethlisberger can't play, Tommy Maddox will start at Houston. The last time Maddox faced the Texans, in 2002, three of his turnovers were returned for touchdowns, two on interceptions, in a 24-6 loss to the first-year team.

"The good thing is I don't think there's anything this league can dish out that I haven't seen before," Maddox said. "I prepare every game like I'm going to start. If they need me to go in there, I'll be ready to go in there and help the team win."

BRONCOS: Cornerback Champ Bailey, who hasn't missed a game in his seven-year career, practiced in pads and said he expects to play Sunday against San Diego. He dislocated his left shoulder Sunday while making a tackle.

CHARGERS: Defensive lineman Luis Castillo, the 12th overall pick in April, likely will make his first start and Shawne Merriman, the 28th pick, his debut Sunday against Denver. Merriman missed the season opener because of a sprained left knee. Right end Igor Olshansky is doubtful with a leg injury. If he can't play, Jacques Cesakire will move from left end to right end and Castillo will start on the left.

GIANTS: The team said it is close to a deal for a new stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex to be owned and operated jointly with the Jets. The plan was delivered a day before New Jersey's sports authority is scheduled to consider recommending the state walk away from an agreement with the Giants reached in the spring.

The decision could hinge on whether the Giants reach a deal with the Jets, who also have proposed a stadium design for the site. The state can walk away if the Giants don't have a deal with the Jets by 5 p.m. Monday, and the Jets on Thursday said negotiations are far apart.

The 80,000-seat stadium and adjacent practice facility proposed by the Giants, to open in the fall of 2009, would cost $800-million and be paid for by the teams. It could accommodate a retractable roof for about $200-million more, which the Giants hope the state and NFL help pay for.

RAVENS: The toe injury that forced Kyle Boller out of Sunday's game will not cost him his starting quarterback job, coach Brian Billick said. Wednesday, Billick said Anthony Wright "will be our starting quarterback until circumstances change." A day later, Billick clarified to say Boller, who hyperextended his right big toe and injured his ankle, will be the starter when healthy, which could be Oct.2.

REDSKINS: Rookie kicker Nick Novak said he was told by the team he will play Monday against Dallas barring a game-time determination that veteran John Hall is healthy. Hall, who strained his right quadriceps Sunday, has not kicked this week. But he has had no swelling in his thigh and said he aims to practice by the weekend.

ARENA LEAGUE: Arizona general manager Gene Nudo also will coach. He replaces Todd Shell, who resigned Sept.1, two days after being arrested and telling police he used cocaine.