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Steelers to sit Clark in Denver over health risks

Packers wide receiver Nelson drops a pass as he is chased by Steelers' Clark in the fourth quarter of the NFL's Super Bowl XLV football game
Packers wide receiver Nelson drops a pass as he is chased by Steelers' Clark in the fourth quarter of the NFL's Super Bowl XLV football game

(Reuters) - Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark will not play in Sunday's AFC wild card playoff game against the Denver Broncos because of health risks to him in the high altitude of Denver, the team said on Tuesday.

Clark, who has a blood disorder that can be affected by thin air, became violently ill after a game in Denver during the 2007 National Football League season, eventually losing his spleen and gall bladder due to a deprivation of oxygen.

"It was an easy decision for us," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. "We were going to err on the side of caution."

Tomlin said Ryan Mundy would start for Clark, who was held out of two subsequent trips the Steelers made to Denver since the 2007 incident.

"Well I guess we all know now," Clark wrote on Twitter. "I will not be playing. Glad that it's out now. So no more questions to ask. Thanks for your concern!"

Tomlin also confirmed that running back Rashard Mendenhall suffered a torn knee ligament in Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns and would miss the rest of the season.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been suffering from a sprained ankle, should be OK for the playoff game against the Broncos, Tomlin said.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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