One of the biggest questions facing the Pittsburgh Steelers this week as they prepare for their AFC North battle against the Cincinnati Bengals, is who exactly will be available. Injury wise, the battered Steelers are in rough shape.Marcus Gilbert (foot) have already been ruled out of the contest, along with back-up outside linebacker Chris Carter (hamstring). While there is no timetable on a return for either Polamalu or Gilbert, neither injury seems to be season ending, although they could be nagging throughout the season.
Three other contributors missed practice today and their status is up in the air at best. Center Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), running backs Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and leading rusher Isaac Redman (knee) were all on the sidelines, and have been listed in the day-to-day category by head coach Mike Tomlin. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons also did not practice, but at this point he looks like he should be available.
The major concern has to be with Pouncey as the team moves forward. If Pouncey cannot go, the struggling offensive line will have two new starters on Sunday, and a roster move will have to be made to add depth prior to the game with Gilbert already out. For an offense that has not been effective running the football, these injuries will complicate things even more.
This is especially true with the injuries that have been piling up in the backfield. If Mendenhall and Redman cannot go, and back-up Jonathan Dwyer is still limited by the turf toe he has been battling, depth will be extremely thin. At that point, second-year running back Baron Batch and rookie Chris Rainey would be the only healthy backs available. Talk about complications for the offense.
It was thought that the Steelers would sign an offensive lineman on Tuesday to help ease these concerns as they had a roster exemption in-hand after suspending nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu for two weeks. At the end of the day they did sign a player, but he was not on the offensive line, as the team brought back defensive end Corbin Bryant instead.
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