With running backs Rashard Mendehall and Isaac Redman out for the Steelers, Jonathan Dwyer is expected to get the start against the Bengals on Sunday. (US Presswire)

Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey wasn't made available for interviews following practice Friday. But when asked how his injured right knee feels, the two-time All Pro gave a thumbs-up.

Pouncey is officially listed as questionable by the Steelers, who open AFC North play at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night. Pouncey, who reportedly has an MCL sprain, did not practice Monday or Wednesday but said he felt "great" after being a limited participant in Thursday's practice and was eager to see how the knee responded Friday morning.      

It apparently felt good enough for him to be in pads for Friday's practice. Although Pouncey did not take part in every drill with the first team, he worked on his own and did see some reps in 11-on-11 drills.   

If Pouncey can't play, OL Doug Legursky will start in his place.   

In other Steelers injury news, the top-two running backs (Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman) were ruled out for Sunday. Players indicated that RB Jonathan Dwyer will start, but no matter who plays the first series, expect Dwyer to split time with RB Baron Batch.   

"I think they'll be rotating," Mendenhall said. "Jon [Dwyer] is a talented guy. He's been around here for a while. ...  He hasn't had too many chances to fully get out there and get in a rhythm and get comfortable, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he's able to do."   

QB Ben Roethlisberger brushed off repeated questions about his mildly sprained right ankle as "a lot of overkill." Roethlisberger stepped on a teammate's foot Thursday, forcing him to leave practice early.

He said he was "not at all" concerned about what he said trainers called "a basketball sprain." Roethlisberger was not listed on the team's injury report.   

LBs Lawrence Timmons (foot) and Brandon Johnson (hamstring) were on the injury report -- but are listed as probable after fully practicing for the second consecutive day Friday.   

As expected, S Troy Polamalu (calf), RT Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and LB Chris Carter (hamstring) are officially out.   

Follow Steelers reporter Chris Adamski on Twitter @CBSSteelers and @BuzzsawPGH.