Spoiler alert: Ben Roethlisberger will be listed as "questionable" on the Steelers' injury report this week and will be a game-day decision on Monday night.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin didn't exactly say that on a conference call with 49ers beatwriters this morning. But he obviously is keeping his options open and giving himself plenty of wiggle room when it comes to Roethlisberger and his ailing left ankle. And he's obviously hoping that the 49ers feel they need to prepare for two quarterbacks. If Roethlisberger cannot play, veteran Charlie Batch would start the game.
"He can be ready to play on a limited number of snaps," Tomlin said. "At the end of the week when we get into some situational football things, that's going to require some physical preparation in some form or fashion. But we're going to take it day by day. We're always going to be optimistic when it comes to Ben."
Roethlisberger suffered a high-ankle sprain to his left ankle in his team's win over Cleveland on Monday night. After being helped off the field and receiving Xrays, he returned to that game but has been in a boot since. Roethlisberger was observed by Steelers reporters liming today and Tomlin indicated he wouldn't practice.
Asked if Roethlisberger needed to practice some this week to start the game - which is a prerequisite for most players -- Tomlin said Roethlisberger's experience and the position he plays makes him an exception to the rule.
"I think it's different with the quarterback position, particularly when it's a veteran one," Tomlin said. "I think there's more of a chance of that happening at the quarterback position, particularly if you have a veteran one, than say some other position like wide receiver, running back or linebacker."
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-- Matt Barrows