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Steelers notebook: Tomlin has ‘no reservations or limitations’ about Big Ben’s availability

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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reacts to a call at Arrowhead Stadium during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo.

Ben Roethlisberger’s discomfort in his knee following a practice last week led to Mike Tomlin’s decision to rule his quarterback inactive against the Chiefs.

Roethlisberger, four weeks removed from suffering a MCL sprain and bone bruise in his left knee, said his leg “ached” following practice Wednesday.

“I felt good in practice, but then Thursday night it just didn’t feel real good, it kind of ached on me a little bit, didn’t sleep a lot,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday during his weekly segment on 93.7 FM. “It was a little discouraging, but I guess that’s part of the rehab process.”

Roethlisberger last week took part in a full week of practice — albeit on a limited basis — for the first time since injuring his knee Sept. 27 against the Rams.

Roethlisberger was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game before being ruled inactive two hours before kickoff.

“I felt a little better Friday, not great,” Roethlisberger said. “It felt better Saturday, and I relayed those things to (Mike Tomlin). He decided it was better for me not to play.”

Tomlin said following Sunday’s game that he expects Roethlisberger to play against the Bengals, but it will depend on how he feels following a week of practice.

Tomlin said Tuesday they are preparing for Roethlisberger to play this week.

“We don’t have any reservations or limitations about his availability,” Tomlin said. “We will keep an eye on him as he participates this week in practice to make sure there is no negative reaction to that practice participation. But as I sit here today, we are comfortable with where he is in his overall availability this week.”

Short-yardage back?

DeAngelo Williams was used in short-yardage situations against the Chiefs but that doesn’t mean he is the Steelers short-yardage back moving forward.

“He was a week ago,” Tomlin said. “We’ll build a plan this week that gives us the best opportunity to win this challenge.”

All four of Williams’ carries came in either third-and-1 or fourth-and-1 plays. He converted two.

“I think it may have just came up,” Williams said. “I wasn’t deemed the short-yardage back or anything like that. It just worked out in that situation.”

Pouncey surgery?

Tomlin didn’t confirm nor deny that center Maurkice Pouncey underwent a second surgery on his ankle despite a social media post last week that suggested he did.

“I am not playing the Pouncey social media game,” Tomlin said. “I have no announcements regarding any of those list guys, whether it is Maurkice Pouncey or Mike Adams or anybody else we have on some obscure list.”

Pouncey already is on the injured reserve/designated to return list following surgery on a broken tibia he suffered during the preseason. Being on that list means even if he did have a second surgery and is out for the year, a roster move would not be necessary.

Vick moves down depth chart

The Steelers released their depth chart and moved quarterback Mike Vick to third-team and replaced him with Landry Jones, but that’s not what Tomlin said during his news conference.

“I think we have to see where Mike Vick is, in terms of making the determination of whether or not he’s available to us,” Tomlin said. “I think the prudent thing at this point is to proceed with the two healthy guys at the quarterback position, in terms of building a plan. And we will let Mike’s overall availability be determined by his health.”

Vick missed the Chiefs’ game because of a hamstring injury.

Odds and ends

Linebacker Terence Garvin underwent knee surgery and will be out a couple of weeks, Tomlin said. … Vick, William Gay (shoulder contusion), Stephon Tuitt (knee) and Will Allen (ankle) will be limited during the week, but all could play against the Bengals. … Also, Tomlin said Cortez Allen’s knee “never perked up to the level of comfort for him and for us” than ultimately forced the Steelers to place him on season-ending injured reserve.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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