- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 4, 2012

GREEN BAY, Wis. | For Greg Jennings, being able to run again was nice.

What happened Wednesday was a much bigger step in his recovery.

For the first time since injuring his knee last month, Jennings was able to run routes against the Green Bay Packers’ defense in practice an indication that the Pro Bowl wide receiver is on track to return for the playoffs.

“Running out there, running routes on air [by yourself], anybody can do that,” Jennings said. “When you have a guy leaning on you and trying to jam you and reacting to it, you’re kind of going to instinctively react, instead of strategically going about something. And that was huge for me to know that I can just react and respond to a guy up in my face and be able to still beat the jam and try to kick it into another gear when the ball’s in the air.”

Jennings tore his left medial collateral ligament in the Packers’ Dec. 11 victory over Oakland, and sat out the final three games of the regular season.

Thanks to the Packers’ 15-1 season, Jennings has extra time to rest. The Packers have the No. 1 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye in the playoffs. They’ll host a divisional game Jan. 15.

Jennings, right tackle Bryan Bulaga and wide receiver Randall Cobb practiced Wednesday after sitting out Sunday’s season finale against Detroit.

Roethlisberger says he reaggravated ankle injury

PITTSBURGH — Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says he aggravated his sprained left ankle in 13-9 win at Cleveland last weekend but expects to play in the wild card game at Denver on Sunday.

Roethlisberger says he experienced a “setback” early in the third quarter but isn’t sure when it happened. He completed 23 of 40 passes for 221 yards while taking every snap.

Roethlisberger was limited in practice on Wednesday and walked into the trainer’s room afterward with a noticeable limp. He injured the ankle while beating the Browns on Dec. 8 and missed a 27-0 win over St. Louis on Christmas Eve before returning in the regular season finale.

Center Maurkice Pouncey (left ankle) was also limited in practice while linebacker James Harrison (toe), defensive end Brett Keisel (right groin), running back Mewelde Moore (sprained left knee) and safety Troy Polamalu (right calf) did not practice. All but Moore are expected to play against the Broncos.

Bengals’ Dalton fighting flu but expects to play

CINCINNATI — Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton missed practice Wednesday with the flu, but is expected to be ready for Saturday’s playoff game in Houston.

Coach Marvin Lewis said Dalton should be back at practice on Thursday.

Dalton has been looking forward to playing in Reliant Stadium, where he’s never lost. He grew up in suburban Houston and won two games at Reliant in high school, then another while at TCU.

The Bengals (9-7) are trying to get their first playoff win since the 1990 season. Dalton played a big part in getting them there, setting club passing records for a rookie while teaming with rookie receiver A.J. Green.

Around the league

SAINTS: New Orleans placed rookie running back Mark Ingram and linebacker Will Herring on injured reserve, ending their seasons.

Ingram missed the past four games because of a sprained toe on his left foot. He carried 122 times for 474 yards and five touchdowns this season. Herring, a reserve, was credited with five tackles on defense and four on special teams.

BILLS: Receiver David Clowney signed with the Buffalo. Clowney, a former Virginia Tech star, has been out of football since being waived by Carolina before the start of this past season.

EAGLES: Tight end Brent Celek had two surgeries Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and for a sports hernia. Celek finished second on Philadelphia with 62 catches for 811 yards and five touchdowns.

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