- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2009

With the Pittsburgh Steelers running out of games and his left knee still not healed, star safety Troy Polamalu isn’t certain whether he will be back this season.

Polamalu is hopeful of playing again, but he said Tuesday there is no definitive date for his return.

Polamalu’s latest injury - to his posterior cruciate ligament - was initially expected to be less severe than the ACL injury that kept him out of the Steelers’ second through fifth games. But he won’t play Thursday night in Cleveland, the fourth consecutive game he has missed with his latest injury.

The Steelers have 10 days off after Cleveland until their next game, and there is a chance the five-time Pro Bowl player could be ready to play Dec. 20 against Green Bay. However, Polamalu hasn’t been cleared to practice, much less play.

Asked what it will take for him to play again this season, Polamalu said, “A whole lot of feeling. A whole lot of prayers. God willing, hopefully, I’ll be able to play. We’ll see what the doctor says.”

Polamalu’s next examination is expected to be after the Steelers (6-6) play the Browns (1-11).

BENGALS: Receiver Chad Ochocinco is being fined $30,000 for his latest stunt - donning a poncho and sombrero after scoring a touchdown this weekend - a person in the NFL told the Associated Press.

BUCS: Kick returner Clifton Smith will miss the rest of the season after his second concussion in less than two months.

The second-year pro was placed on injured reserve two days after he was hurt making a tackle on the opening kickoff of Sunday’s 16-6 loss at Carolina.

BURRESS: Former Super Bowl star Plaxico Burress wants to get a break from prison, but prosecutors said they likely will try to block his bid for work release because he hasn’t served enough time.

The former New York Giants receiver applied for a work furlough - which would let him spend some portion of his time at home - on Nov. 25, about two months into his two-year sentence for carrying an unlicensed gun that went off and wounded him at a Manhattan nightclub. State prison system officials are expected to decide on his request next month.

SCHEDULE: The Minnesota-Carolina matchup Dec. 20 will remain the NFL’s Sunday night game even though NBC had the option to choose another one.

The league said the Green Bay-Pittsburgh game that day will start at 4:15 p.m. EST instead of 1 p.m.

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