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Notebook: Bettis downgraded |

Notebook: Bettis downgraded

| Friday, November 4, 2005 12:00 a.m

Steelers running back Jerome Bettis was downgraded from questionable to doubtful for Sunday’s game at Green Bay. Bettis is nursing a quadriceps bruise that occurred two games ago in the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals. A Cincinnati defender drove his helmet into Bettis’ thigh on a run that netted no gain. He left the field prior to the final play of the third quarter – a 4-yard TD pass to Hines Ward – and did not return.

“I’ve been fighting it ever since,” Bettis said yesterday.

However, he fought through the pain and played sparingly in the Steelers’ 20-19 win this past Monday against the Baltimore Ravens. He ran eight times for 22 yards, 16 of which came on the game-winning field goal drive. Part of the reason he was downgraded to doubtful yesterday is due to a short practice week, given the Steelers lost a day because of the Monday night game.

“I’m going to try to play,” Bettis said. “I want to make the decision to keep me out a difficult one.”

  • With Bettis potentially sidelined, TB Duce Staley will be activated for just the second time this season. Staley, who missed all of training camp after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Aug. 8, participated in four snaps against the New England Patriots in Week 3. He has no rushing attempts. He was asked if this is a good opportunity to return, given the Steelers aren’t likely to deviate from their running style with backup quarterback Charlie Batch running the offense.

    “I hope so, but I don’t think the game plan will change,” said Staley, who said his return has taken longer than expected because of a slight onset of arthritis. “We will continue to stick to what we do and that’s run the ball. Of course we will try to run it a little more because Ben is out. That has been our makeup last year and this year and it won’t change.”

  • Two Steelers were downgraded on yesterday’s injury report: Bettis (quadriceps) from questionable to doubtful and DE Travis Kirschke (back) from probable to questionable. The only Steelers players to miss practice were Bettis, Krischke, QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee, out), S Mike Logan (hamstring, out) and T Trai Essex (illness, probable). Two Packers did not practice yesterday, including WR Robert Ferguson (knee, doubtful), TE David Martin (groin, questionable).

  • Batch makes his start in nearly four years in familiar surroundings at Lambeau Field. Batch played there four times while with the Detroit Lions.

    “I opened my rookie year there in 1998,” Batch said. “I’ve been through all the nostalgia part of it, so it won’t affect me Sunday.”

  • Second-year RB Willie Parker, who returned to practice yesterday after missing with a toe injury a day earlier, recalled watching Batch, an eight-year vet, play while the latter was with the Lions.

    “I was a young boy and I grew up watching him because I loved Barry Sanders,” Batch said. “I know a lot about C-Batch.”

    Although he’s been a longtime fan, Parker added, “I don’t want his autograph or nothin’.”

  • Bettis gave some insight into what Roethlisberger is going through. Roethlisberger had surgery for a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee yesterday and is out of Sunday’s game in Green Bay.

    “I had to deal with it; it wasn’t a long process,” Bettis said. “I had it done in training camp one year and played the first game of the season, so it wasn’t an extremely long process. But during the season, it’s a little bit different.”

    As for as rehab, “it’s a strength issue … it’s just a matter of pain tolerance,” Bettis said.

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