Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 1/3/12
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark will not play in Sunday's wild-card matchup against the Broncos because of a medical condition that is affected by Denver's high altitude. Clark, 32, has a sickle cell trait and experienced a violent reaction when the Steelers played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in 2007. He sat out the Steelers' regular-season game in Denver in 2009 because of the condition. "I met with him and informed him I am not going to allow him to play in the game," head coach Mike Tomlin said, according to the team's website. "It was an easy decision for us. When looking at all of our data we came to the determination he is at more risk, so we are not going to play him. It's that simple." Clark had a near-fatal reaction while playing in Denver in 2007. He had to be rushed to a local hospital during the game and had his spleen and gall bladder removed. Clark could be at risk of damage to his heart or brain if he plays again in high altitude, which causes players to become fatigued faster. Ryan Mundy will start in Clark's place at free safety alongside four-time Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu. The Steelers will also be without starting running back Rashard Mendenhall for the entirety of the playoffs after he suffered a torn ACL in Sunday's win at Cleveland.
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