When Steelers safety Troy Polamalu suffered on November 15 a new injury to a knee that had kept him out of several games earlier in the season, it was believed he’d miss a month.
The month is almost over, and Polamalu does not appear to be close to playing.
According to Alan Robinson of the Associated Press, Polamalu might not be back at all this season.
Per Robinson, Polamalu said Tuesday that there’s no definitive date for his return.
The decision as to when/if Polamalu returns likely will be driven by whether the Steelers remain realistically in the hunt for the postseason after Week 14. A win over the Browns, for starters, is a must. Then, if the Colts outrace the Broncos and the Dolphins put their tails on the noses of the Jaguars, the teams currently leading the wild-card chase would be pulled back toward the pack, at 8-5 and 7-6 respectively.
This would open the door for a three-week sprint to the finish line, with as many as five non-division-leaders at 7-6, one at 8-5, and two seats open when the music stops.
Under such circumstances, it makes sense to bring Polamalu back for the last three games. Otherwise, it makes more sense to shut him down.