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The Pittsburgh Steelers are battling an opponent as difficult as the New England Patriots — the flu.

ESPN reports that as many as 15 Steelers have been hit with a 24-hour flu bug. Four players missed practice Wednesday and tight end Ladarius Green missed Thursday.

RELATED: An unhappy Mike Tomlin has disciplined a star player for violating the privacy of the locker room

Coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t see the bug as a problem.

“We’re not making excuses,” he said.  “There won’t be. We’ll be there, we’ll be ready to play, this is just part of normal things that happen over the course of a season.

Pittsburgh meets the Patriots Sunday in the AFC Championship game with a scheduled 6:40 p.m. kickoff. The winner plays in the Super Bowl against the winner of the Atlanta Falcons-Green Bay Packers game. The NFC championship game kicks off at 3:05 p.m. Sunday.

MIke Tomlin hopeful that 15 Pittsburgh Steelers sidelined ahead of playoff tilt with Patriots will be available Sunday Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Ray Marcano About the author:
Ray grew up in the Bronx, New York, so no surprise --- he's a lifelong New York Yankee fan. He's suffered through the last 40 years of bad New York hoops (he's a Knicks fan) and gets occasional giggles from the Rangers (NHL finals last year!).  In addition to his ...Read more
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