Quarterback Neil O’Donnell of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who was not expected to play until the playoffs because of a broken leg suffered Dec. 6, practiced Tuesday and could start Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Coach Bill Cowher said.
Cowher said O’Donnell reported some discomfort in his right leg, “but he looked very good.”
With Bubby Brister at quarterback, the Steelers haven’t scored a touchdown in two games.
The Browns defeated the Steelers, 17-9, this season and are one of four teams to hold them without a touchdown.
“We will not put Neil in a situation where we would jeopardize his health,” Cowher said. “That’s the only criteria we will use. Right now, let’s watch him practice, let’s see how he does, let’s see how he feels by the end of the week.”
If Pittsburgh (10-5) loses to Cleveland (7-8) and San Diego (10-5) beats Seattle (2-13), the Steelers must play a wild-card game at home the weekend of Jan. 2.
If they win and Buffalo (11-4) loses to Houston (9-6), the Steelers could earn home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.