Three of Pittsburgh’s starters left Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots with injuries. Both Ike Taylor and Vince Williams exited due to concussions, while an ankle injury forced Marcus Gilbert to the sidelines.
Thankfully for the Steelers, they actually received some good news on the “injury front” earlier today. According to Teresa Varley of the team’s official website, both David DeCastro and Markus Wheaton have been cleared to practice fully this week.
The return of DeCastro from an ankle will provide a huge boost to Pittsburgh’s much-maligned offensive line, and his absence was extremely noticeable during the team’s 55-31 loss to New England. Guy Whimper simply did not cut the mustard at right guard, and DeCastro definitely could have prevented Ben Roethlisberger from being sacked five times.
As far as Wheaton is concerned, it is definitely a positive sign to see him back in the lineup after the rookie has missed five weeks (four games) due to a finger injury and a subsequent surgery. The former Oregon State Beaver should provide some depth and added speed to the wide receiver corps, and he could earn more playing time down the stretch if members of the coaching staff elect to give more reps to the younger guys on the roster.
As far as Pittsburgh’s other hobbled players are concerned, Williams, Taylor, and Gilbert will be monitored throughout the week and their statuses for Sunday are not yet known according to Varley. In addition to those three, Cameron Heyward (knee contusion), Fernando Velasco (thigh), and Kelvin Beachum (hip flexor) were also banged up against New England as well and could be limited in practice this week.
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