The other high-ankle sprain the Steelers are dealing with could result in Trai Essex starting at left guard Monday night in San Francisco.

Center Maurkice Pouncey has yet to practice this week, and if he is unable to play, Doug Legursky will move from left guard to center. If that happens, Essex, not Chris Kemoeatu, would get the nod at left guard.

Kemoeatu entered the season as the incumbent at left guard, and he has started seven games there in 2011. But the seventh-year veteran has been hampered by injuries, and he had three penalties called on him in the Steelers' 14-3 win over the Browns last Thursday.

"The effort's always there," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said of Kemoeatu. "The penalties you've just got to get rid of."

Pouncey's status is in question after he left the Browns game in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle. The same injury kept Pouncey out of the Super Bowl last season.

"I couldn't walk in the Super Bowl," Pouncey said Thursday. "If I can go Monday, I'm going."


It's not like Trai is a God send to the offensive line, a pro bowl angel sent down from the black 'n gold palaces in the heavens, but atleast he have the dumb penalties coupled with the epic holding and false starts that just kill a drive time after time.