Polamalu out, Gamble doubtful for Thursday night

AP

The NFL has given us a couple of Christmas presents this year — a game on Christmas Eve eve and a game on Christmas night.  Though Panthers-Steelers and Cowboys-Cardinals is sort of like getting socks and underwear on Christmas morning, it’s the thought that counts.

What also counts are injuries, and a handful of them will impact the Thursday night game.

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu will miss his second straight game with an ankle injury, which will dramatically impact his run at the defensive player of the year award.  Though the team’s struggles without Polamalu would support an argument that he’s the defensive MVP, the award is player of the year, and if a guy doesn’t play the whole year it becomes harder to win it.

Also out for the Steelers are receiver Arnaz Battle (chest) and defensive end Aaron Smith (triceps).

For the Panthers, running back Tony Fiammetta is out with an ankle injury, and cornerback Chris Gamble is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Defensive end Tyler Brayton (hip) is questionable, and a half-dozen players are probable.