PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey missed most of Sunday's win with a sprained ankle but the Pro-Bowl rookie vowed he would be ready to make the snaps to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl.
"I know in my heart that I'm playing in that game," Pouncey told reporters after the Steelers earned their third trip to the Super Bowl in the last six years with a 24-19 victory over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game.
With the Super Bowl against NFC champion Green Bay Packers slated for February 6 in Dallas, Pouncey will have an extra week to heal his left ankle.
"I had the same injury before on my other ankle and I know how to attack it. I know how to approach things," the six-foot four-inch 304-pound (138 kg) Pouncey said about his college playing days at Florida.
Pouncey, 21, was replaced on Pittsburgh's first possession after Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas fell on his left leg.
"It was the worst pain ever," he said.
Pouncey was replaced by Doug Legursky and the ground attack continued to thrive with Rashard Mendenhall gaining 95 yards as the Steelers surged to a 24-0 lead in the first half against the NFL's third-ranked rushing defense.
There were, however, two botched snaps from Legursky to Roethlisberger, the second one coming on a fourth-quarter play from the Pittsburgh one-yard line that led to the Steelers' quarterback being tackled in the end zone for a safety.
Writing by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Sonia Oxley