Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will start Sunday, but the team won't be as fortunate with outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley and right tackle Mike Adams.
Woodley and Adams both missed Thursday practice and likely will not play this weekend as the Steelers host the San Diego Chargers (4-8) due to ankle injuries both players sustained in the Steelers' Week 12 loss at Cleveland (Pittsburgh Steelers Tickets).
It's a critical game for the Steelers, who own a tiebreaker advantage over the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC's last playoff spot. Indianapolis (8-4) sit one game ahead of both teams for the 5-seed, and Baltimore remains two games ahead of both of them.
It would be Woodley's third game missed this season after missing half of last season with lingering hamstring issues. Adams started five consecutive games since taking over for Marcus Gilbert in Week 7. Gilbert was placed on injured-reserve two weeks ago.
If neither can play, Jason Worilds would start again for Woodley, and Kelvin Beachum would make his second consecutive start for Adams.
Safety Ryan Clark (hip), Troy Polamalu (precautionary), and punter Drew Butler (illness) missed both Wednesday and Thursday's practice this week. Polamalu is being given rest, and all three are expected to play Sunday.
The Steelers will likely have left guard Willie Colon (knee) back against the Chargers. He's missed the past two games, forcing center Maurkice Pouncey to make his first pro start at left guard in Week 13. Doug Legursky started at center.
The same appears to be true for wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (ribs), who's practiced fully two consecutive days for the first time since Week 11. Emmanuel Sanders (shoulder) was limited in practice after missing Wednesday's session. If Sanders ends up being activated, it could mean deactivation for wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who was signed to fill in during Cotchery's absence.
Cornerback Ike Taylor will miss at least the next two games with a hairline fracture of his right ankle suffered against Baltimore in Week 13.