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Arrowhead Report: Lilja To Miss Sunday's Game

Posted Nov 24, 2011

Chiefs guard Ryan Lilja will miss Sunday's game with a head injury

While the Chiefs battle a short week following Monday night’s 34-3 loss in New England, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be well rested when they visit Arrowhead Stadium Sunday night.

Pittsburgh was one of four teams to have a bye in Week 11, which was the final week of the regular season any team sits idle. The off-weekend gives the Steelers a whopping 15 days to prepare for the Chiefs.

“I think it came at a good time for us,” said Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is nursing a thumb injury. “We had some guys that were real close to getting back to healthy and that week off helps. It was hard to push through the weeks that it took us to get to there, but I think you’d rather have the bye now than in Week 4 or 5. You want to get into as much of the season as you can so the rest comes at the right time.”

Pittsburgh had already held two practices this week before Kansas City made it onto the field for a walkthrough late Wednesday afternoon.

The Chiefs’ United Airlines charter flight from New England didn’t touch down at Kansas City International Airport until nearly 5:00 AM Tuesday morning. Tuesday was the players’ scheduled day off, but many were in the office getting a head-start on Pittsburgh film study.

“It’s just that time of year that it’s a grind no matter what time the flight got in,” OLB Andy Studebaker said. “Guys are excited and we’re ready to play a good team again and we’re looking forward to getting a chance to bounce back and get to where we want to be.

“The holiday season also gets everybody perked up a little bit because there are friends and family around, so that’s good. But as far as football goes, we’re just ready to get going again for another challenge on Sunday.”

Big Ben Will Play

Steelers Pro Bowl QB Ben Roethlisberger is known around league circles for his toughness, so it comes to no one’s surprise that he’s expected to play against the Chiefs despite a broken thumb on his throwing hand.

Roethlisberger injured the thumb in the Steelers’ November 13th win at Cincinnati, but never exited the game. He played through a similar injury earlier in his career, which prompted a guarantee that he’d be available for Sunday’s game in Kansas City.

“It’s the same spot,” Roethlisberger said. “I think that bone is probably a little weak still.”

“I didn’t miss time the first time, so I think that I’ll find a way to get through it. I’ll be out there. I’ll guarantee you that. Will there be an issue of pain and trying not to let it affect my throwing? I don’t know. I can’t answer that yet.”

Injuries are no stranger to Roethlisberger. He’s started a full 16 games just once in his eight-year NFL career, but has never missed more than four games in a single season.

“For me, the reason that I want to play is that I want to be out there for my guys,” said Roethlisberger. “I don’t want to let them down. I want to play. When you’re dinged up, hurt and not 100%, you have to play a little better, play a little harder and focus a bit more.”

One of Roethlisberger’s absences occurred in 2009 when he took a knee to the head from Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson in a loss at Arrowhead Stadium.

Roethlisberger was sidelined one game because of a concussion, which prompted the Steelers to pry Tyler Palko away from the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. Palko, who made his first career start Monday night in the Chiefs loss at New England, spent two weeks with the Steelers as a short-term answer for depth at quarterback.

Despite the head injury, Roethlisberger has no trouble recalling his only visit to Arrowhead.

“This will be my second time, and before my first trip I heard the stories about how loud it is and how great the fans are,” Roethlisberger said. “They definitely lived up to the hype of the building and with it being a Sunday night game I’m sure they’ll be just as rowdy and crazy this time.”

Lilja Ruled Out

Chiefs left guard Ryan Lilja will miss Sunday’s game because of a head injury suffered against the Patriots Monday night. Lilja was injured on legal, but vicious peelback block from Patriots nose tackle Kyle Love during an interception return.

Rookie Rodney Hudson replaced Lilja in the lineup and looks to be in line to make the first start of his NFL career.

A second-round pick out of Florida State, Hudson saw time at both guard and center during the preseason. Hudson is thought of as the Chiefs heir apparent to veteran Casey Wiegmann at center, but was an All-American left guard for the Seminoles.

In other injury news, Glenn Dorsey, Demorrio Williams and Jon McGraw practiced in full on Wednesday. All three were inactive against the Patriots Monday night.

Chiefs Injury Report

G Ryan Lilja – OUT (Head)

LB Demorrio Williams – Full Practice (Groin)

DE Glenn Dorsey – Full Practice (Knee)

S Jon McGraw – Full Practice (Shoulder)

Steelers Injury Report

Limited Practice: WR Arnaz Battle (Hamstring), QB Ben Roethlisberger (Right Thumb), LB LaMarr Woodley (Hamstring)

Full Practice: S Troy Polamalu (Ribs), WR Emmanuel Sanders (Knee)

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