Steelers RB Dwyer doubtful for Giants

Steelers RB Dwyer doubtful for Giants

PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer might not get a chance at a third straight 100-yard game on Sunday against the New York Giants.

Dwyer is listed as doubtful thanks to a right quad strain that prevented him from practicing Friday. Starting running back Rashard Mendenhall (right Achilles) is also listed as doubtful, leaving Isaac Redman and his sore ankles as the healthiest feature back on the roster.

``The good thing is that we've got three good running backs, so when somebody goes down we always have somebody else ready to go,'' Redman said. ``It's a shame that we all can't get healthy at the same time, but that's what makes it crucial that we have so much depth.''

Dwyer became the first Pittsburgh back in four years to post consecutive 100-yard games when he rushed for 107 in last week's 27-12 win over Washington. He tweaked the quad in the fourth quarter and was limited to just one day of practice this week. Though he stressed ``everything was cool right now,'' Dwyer will likely have a diminished role if he plays at all.

``It's all about getting wins and getting to the Super Bowl, that's all I care about,'' Dwyer said. ``Sure, I want to be out there and play, so when I'm ready to go I'll be on the field.''

While safety Troy Polamalu will miss his fourth straight game and sixth overall this season with a right calf injury, linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) and safety Ryan Clark (concussion) are probable. Woodley has dealt with a series of hamstring issues over the last year but believes he will be on the field as the Steelers (4-3) look for their third straight win.

``I'm not worried about it at all,'' Woodley said. ``The things that have happened this year, it just takes a little time for it to settle down and heal, and then I'll be ready to play. I feel a lot better today, and I'll be ready to play Sunday.''

Woodley will get a little extra time to rest at home. The Steelers will remain in Pittsburgh until Sunday morning, leaving around 9 a.m. in advance of the 4:25 p.m. kickoff vs. the Giants (6-2), and will fly back following the game. Typically NFL teams are required to travel one day in advance, but the league gave the Steelers permission for the one-day trip after the team's hotel in Jersey City lost power due to Hurricane Sandy.


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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 


The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall reamins out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.

The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.


The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.

By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine, if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

No player on the Caps gets more scrutiny than defenseman Brooks Orpik. While the analytics aren't kind when he's on the ice, we got to see what the Caps looked like without him when he was scratched against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday and...well, his loss was noticeable.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir discuss what Orpik's true impact on the Capitals really is both on and off the ice on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast. Plus, they also talk about John Carlson's monster season and Barry Trotz's new strategy for the goalies.

Listen to the latest episode in the player below or here on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.