Steelers' Polamalu, Holmes will sit vs. Dolphins; Miami's Thomas out, too

Updated: November 23, 2007, 8:34 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and wide receiver Santonio Holmes won't play Monday against Miami after missing practice Friday for a third consecutive day.

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Polamalu (sprained knee) and Holmes (sprained ankle) were listed as doubtful at best by coach Mike Tomlin earlier in the week, and neither was expected to play. Both could miss multiple games.

Tyrone Carter will replace Polamalu and Nate Washington will start for Holmes against the Dolphins (0-10) as the Steelers (7-3) try to bounce back from a surprise 19-16 loss to the Jets.

Polamalu is having a down season statistically, with no interceptions or sacks and one fumble recovery, but his ability to shift positions from play to play is an important element of the Steelers' league-leading defense.

Holmes has a sprain in his upper right ankle -- injured ligaments between the two major bones of the lower leg. His absence could be a major setback to a Steelers offense that managed only one touchdown and 151 yards passing against the Jets, who had previously won only one game. It also takes away quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's top deep threat.

Holmes, a first-round draft pick in 2006, leads the team in receptions (39), touchdown catches (7) and yards per catch (17).

"It's going to require multiple people to step up and fill the roles they provide for us, which is great," Tomlin said. "This is a team, and it's the ultimate team game. We're looking forward to these guys stepping up and delivering for us."

For Miami, middle linebacker Zach Thomas has been ruled out for his fourth consecutive game and will not play on Monday night.

Coach Cam Cameron also said defensive end Matt Roth (groin) and running back Jesse Chatman (ankle) were day to day.

Since Thomas suffered a concussion in September, the seven-time Pro Bowl player has missed five games. Thomas, 34, has said he hopes to return to the winless Dolphins sometime this season.

Thomas missed two games in September. In October, he was involved in a car crash after a loss to the New England Patriots. He suffered whiplash and recurring migraines.

"It's just something we have to deal with," Cameron said. "I don't really look at it any other way. I know he's doing everything he can to stay in the condition if, in fact, he gets to the point where he can come back. He's in the meetings, he's involved in the practice and all those things. Just like I told him, let's not get ahead of ourselves."

Cameron said Thomas was, "doing everything but practicing." Thomas did not speak with reporters.

"The status -- it has not changed -- with migraines, those kinds of things," Cameron said. "I think he's made it clear where he stands and we are on the same page."

Although Chatman had a noticeable limp during Friday's practice, Cameron said he was not ready to completely rule out the running back who has averaged 91.6 yards rushing per game.

"It could come a long way by tomorrow," Cameron said. "We've got a significant practice tomorrow and a walkthrough on Sunday. So we've still got some time."

Cameron would not commit to starting running back Ricky Williams, who recently returned to the Dolphins after serving a 1-year suspension, if Chatman could not play Monday.

"He had another practice that was solid and we'll wait and see what tomorrow brings," Cameron said. "Now he's had consecutive practices. We don't have to make any decisions today. We don't have to make any decisions tomorrow. We'll just continue to take it one day at a time, see how he feels as the week goes along, then we'll make a decision, probably a game-time decision."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press