Had the Steelers not beaten the Ravens yesterday, it would of been quite fathomable that Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu would of been placed on injured reserve for the final week of the season. While the MRI last Tuesday on Polamalu\’s knee was considered favorable by media accounts, Polamalu did not practice at all last week. Head coach Mike Tomlin said yesterday in his post game press conference that he may or may not have a new MRI update on Tuesday regarding his condition. That being said, I do not see Polamalu being pressed into action versus the Dolphins this coming Sunday.
Most would ask, why hasn\’t he been placed on IR already? For the answer, one just has to look back at how former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher handled Rod Woodson during the 1995 season. Woodson tore his ACL against the Detroit Lions in the first game of the season and returned to play in the Super Bowl XXX between the Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys. While that is an extreme example, it is one that Tomlin knows the history of. Polamalu is a huge part of the defense to say the least, regardless what he or Tomlin may say. If by some miracle the Steelers sneak into the playoffs this year, Tomlin knows they have no shot at a championship without a healthy Polamalu in the secondary.
Playing Troy in what could end up being a meaningless game against the Dolphins is not prudent. Had a few other things broke the Steelers way on Sunday around the league, then the Steelers would of controlled their own destiny against the Dolphins. In essence, the playoffs would of started in week 17 and Tomlin then would be more inclined to suit Troy up. As it stands right now, the risk out weighs the reward, much like the Colts Sunday decision to rest quarterback Peyton Manning in the second half against the Jets and forgo the undefeated season quest. The bed the Steelers have made themselves will have to be laid in without Polamalu. If they somehow find a way to the playoffs, the reward will be getting Troy back another week removed from his PCL injury. To play him without any guarantees right now would be a bad decision by the organization.