Despite calf strain, Polamalu will play

Updated: January 14, 2009, 3:49 PM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

PITTSBURGH -- Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu potentially could miss practice time this week after injuring his calf before the Steelers' 35-24 victory over the San Diego Chargers, but coach Mike Tomlin said Polamalu is expected to play in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Polamalu strained his calf during pregame warm-ups and barely made it on the field in time for the opening kickoff against the Chargers. He played the entire game but finished with only three tackles.

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"We're at the point in the season where it's about getting ready to play and being at the very best that you can be on game day," Tomlin said Tuesday. "If that means sacrificing a little physical preparation for him, we're willing to do that."

Polamalu did not practice Wednesday.

Polamalu made the All-Pro team last week and was chosen for his fifth Pro Bowl. He is tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions and plays a significant role in the league's top-rated defense. His 73 regular-season tackles ranked fourth on the team.

Tomlin also said center Justin Hartwig injured a knee during the second quarter and played with a brace during the second half. Hartwig also is expected to be limited early in the practice week for Sunday night's game against AFC North rival Baltimore.

ESPN.com NFL blogger James Walker covers the AFC North. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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