PITTSBURGH (AP) — Antonio Brown was sent home from Steelers practice Friday, but it wasn’t because of the calf injury he’s been nursing for the past four weeks.
Brown was a full practice participant all week, but coach Mike Tomlin said Brown fell ill Friday. So Tomlin kept him away from the team two days prior to the Steelers’ divisional round playoff game Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
On their official injury report released late Friday afternoon, the Steelers listed Brown as questionable to play Sunday.
“I didn’t want him to get any of the guys who weren’t sick, sick,” Tomlin said. “We’ll bring him back in the building (Saturday) and continue with his game readiness. We don’t have a lot of reservations about him from a physical health standpoint. We do need to get him well from an illness standpoint.”
Brown hasn’t played since he left a Dec. 17 game against the New England Patriots in the second quarter because of a contusion in his lower left leg. He returned to practice Monday and remains in line to appear in his 10th playoff game Sunday at Heinz Field.
Questions swirled surrounding the status of three other Steelers starters, but each of those defensive players on Friday insisted he will play against the Jaguars. Cornerback Artie Burns returned after sustaining a non-contact right knee injury Wednesday, defensive end Stephon Tuitt returned after an elbow injury limited him Wednesday and prevented him from practicing Thursday, and defensive lineman Javon Hargrave (back) came back after taking Thursday off.
Also, Tomlin said backup offensive lineman B.J. Finney (thigh injury sustained in the regular-season finale) was a full participant in practice for the second straight day.
Tomlin said he expects all his injured players to be available Sunday. The Steelers listed none on the “play status” portion of their injury report, and each of them, separately, expressed they would play.
“I’m feeling good; I did all of my reps today in practice,” Burns said. “I should be 100 percent (Sunday). I felt good out there. All of my movements were good. I feel like I was able to run with good speed. I just have to keep doing therapy and I’ll be good.”
Burns, like Tuitt, emerged from practice with a sizable wrap on the affected body part. But when asked if he was playing Sunday, Tuitt’s answer was, “No doubt.”
“It went great today,” Tuitt also said. “I moved my arm really well, pushed offensive line back. It felt great.”
Hargrave downplayed the significance of suddenly missing a practice three days before a playoff game.
“I just didn’t practice (Thursday), that’s all,” he said.
“I’m good. Ain’t nothing serious, I’m pretty sure,” Hargrave said. “It really wasn’t too big; I just needed some rest, really. I practiced (Friday) and it was pretty good.”
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