Mike Tomlin had his weekly press conference earlier this afternoon. Pittsburgh’s head coach shed some light on the statuses of some of his team’s injured players, and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted the following information regarding the health of defensive end Brett Keisel and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley:
#Steelers Mike Tomlin on injuries: Keisel improving, will practice this week. Woodley is out with R calf
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) December 17, 2013
In what could be the final two games of Keisel’s career with the Steelers, I hope that he can suit up for at least one of them. His foot injury has forced him to miss four out of the last five games, but kudos must go to Ziggy Hood for his work in Keisel’s place at the right defensive end position.
Keisel’s return to the lineup would likely signal a demotion to second-string for Hood. In turn, Hood’s return to a backup role would probably force the Steelers to send rookie UDFA Brian Arnfelt back to their practice squad.
As far as Woodley’s absence is concerned, I could care less at this point. The oft-injured outside linebacker exited last Sunday’s game early with a right calf injury, and that was after he missed three gamed during the month of November with a left calf injury. The injury-prone Woodley has been essentially non-existent for the Steelers in terms of his on-field impact since he signed a deal worth $61.5 million during the summer of 2011.
Pittsburgh’s brass could shut Woodley down for the team’s final two regular season games to keep him healthy heading into the offseason. Although I will say that nothing would make me happier than to see the Steelers part ways with the highest-paid defensive player in the franchise’s 81-year history after this season ends.
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