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Big Ben takes all his reps |

Big Ben takes all his reps

| Friday, October 27, 2006 12:00 a.m

Ben Roethlisberger’s arm looked good during a dodge ball game that broke out in the locker room Thursday (relax, Steelers fans, they were only using a small, Nerf basketball).

Of more significance is that Roethlisberger did his share of throwing outside, as well.

The Steelers quarterback participated in the team’s entire practice less than a week after sustaining a concussion in a game against Atlanta.

That, and the playful mood he was in before yesterday’s practice, points toward Roethlisberger playing against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

“He took all of his reps (in practice),” Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. “A final decision probably won’t be made until Sunday morning.”

Cowher has left open the possibility of playing backup Charlie Batch against the Raiders, even if Roethlisberger is cleared medically. That would give Roethlisberger an extra week to rest after sustaining his second concussion in four months.

Roethlisberger has already taken several tests that gauge the effects of a concussion. Cowher said he would continue to take those tests and that Steelers medical personnel would watch for symptoms associated with a concussion.

Roethlisberger has made it clear he wants to play if he gets medical clearance.

“Ben hasn’t seemed any different,” said right tackle Max Starks, whose locker is next to Roethlisberger’s at the Steelers’ South Side practice facility. “Still the same old guy; a lot of shoes getting in my way.”

Cowher said one reason he hadn’t made a decision about his starting quarterback was because he wants to see how Roethlisberger handles the trip across the country.

The Steelers leave for Oakland after practice today.

“He felt better than he did (Wednesday),” Cowher said of Roethlisberger after yesterday’s practice. “We’re very encouraged about how he felt.”

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