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Fullback Kreider breaks right hand |

Fullback Kreider breaks right hand

| Tuesday, September 25, 2001 12:00 a.m

PITTSBURGH: Fullback Dan Kreider, hampered by a calf injury since the first day of training camp, fractured his right hand during Steelers practice Monday at the team’s indoor facility on the South Side.

Kreider, the Steelers’ rookie of the year last season, was not available for comment after practice. Team spokesman Ron Wahl said it was not clear how long Kreider might be out, if at all, adding he still might play Sunday in the Steelers’ game at Buffalo.

Wahl said Steelers coach Bill Cowher will address the injury during his weekly news conference today.

Kreider has yet to play a game this season because of a strained muscle in his calf he sustained during the first day of training camp.

He and Jon Witman were supposed to compete for the starting fullback job this season, but Kreider only returned to practice a couple weeks ago.

Witman started in the team’s season opener at Jacksonville but has been slowed by a recurring back problem.

Wide-open AFC Central?

The Cincinnati Bengals are 2-0. The Tennessee Titans are 0-2.

The Bengals defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The 2-0 Jacksonville Jaguars, supposedly besieged by injuries, defeated the Titans.

It appears the AFC Central Division is more winnable than ever.

‘It’s no more than it has been,’ running back Jerome Bettis said. ‘Just because a team loses a game doesn’t mean it’s more winnable. We got to go out there and win ourselves. We can’t worry about the other teams.’

Still, what transpired Sunday has left the Steelers (0-1) seemingly alive and well in the division.

But the players aren’t saying as much.

‘It’s a big deal because we lost. But at the same time, it’s not that big of a deal,’ strong safety Lee Flowers said. ‘You see some teams that struggled the past couple years and boom, they’re 2-0. Why can’t that be us?

‘Obviously we can’t be 2-0 now, but we still could play some good football and still win some games. We’re just trying to take care of our business.’

None of the players seemed particularly surprised by the Bengals’ and Jaguars’ victories Sunday.

And Bettis said one loss by the Titans doesn’t ease the pain of the Steelers’ season-opening 21-3 loss to the Jaguars.

‘Nah, we stunk. That won’t change,’ he said. ‘What other teams did won’t change the fact that we stunk up the field in Jacksonville.

‘That did not change anything. Who won or lost doesn’t help you feel better about the way you played. We played terribly. We got to take care of our business.

‘What it shows you is that anybody is beatable on any given day. It lends to our credence that if we don’t go out and play our best we’re going to get beat.’

Injury report

Cornerback Chad Scott (knee) saw limited practice time Monday and said he will be ready to start Sunday. Defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen (ankle) was walking without his protective boot and said he is day to day. He did not practice.

Linebacker Kendrell Bell (ankle), receivers Plaxico Burress (shoulder) and Hines Ward (ankle), punter Josh Miller (thigh) and quarterback Kordell Stewart (ankle) practiced.

Odds and ends

The Steelers players have today off, then return for practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The team leaves for Buffalo Saturday.

The Steelers will hold a grand opening for the Great Hall at Heinz Field Friday. The daylong event is open to the public. Parking is available for $3 in the G-1 lots at Heinz Field.

A $5 admission will be charged after 6 p.m. The Great Hall is a themed entertainment complex, hall of fame and food court located on the ground floor of the stadium’s east side.

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