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Pittsburgh Steelers Face Injury and Travel Challenges in Preparation for the New York Giants

November 1st, 2012 at 9:24 PM
By Mark Mihalko

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for their Sunday match up against the New York Giants in normal fashion. However, in this challenging week, where Hurricane Sandy created despair up the East Coast, it appears that the challenges for Sunday are just getting started.

'West End Overlook during Steelers Game' photo (c) 2011, Jon Dawson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
It has been reported that due to the massive storm, the Steelers will not be able to secure accommodations prior to the game and will travel to New Jersey on game day. While this may be a hassle, it is nowhere near the challenge that the team faces with their banged up linebacker corps. At this point, the Steelers have one starter and two back up linebackers battling hamstring injuries that could limit their availability for this week.

The biggest name in the bunch is LaMarr Woodley, who has basically been battling hamstring issues since the 2011 season. Yes, he claims that this injury is nowhere near as severe as the one he suffered last season, the former Pro Bowl linebacker appears poised to miss another game with the injury after missing practice for a second consecutive day on Thursday. While back up linebacker Brandon Johnson did return to practice after missing the past two games with his hamstring injury, linebacker Stevenson Sylvester has not practiced and is in doubt for Sunday.  

Of course, none of this is good news for a defense already missing Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu (calf) and has struggled to create turnovers or pressure quarterbacks throughout 2012. All was not lost though, safety Ryan Clark did practice as usual, after leaving the game against the Washington Redskins with concussion symptoms. Clarks’ availability for Sunday must not be in question as the Steelers released back up safety Damon Cromartie-Smith prior to reinstating nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu after his two-week team imposed suspension was complete.

On offense, tackle Marcus Gilbert (Foot) is out. Running backs Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Jonathan Dwyer (Quad) were limited in practice on Thursday, leaving Backs Isaac Redman (Ankle) and rookie Chris Rainey to carry the bulk of the load during the session. As the team moves toward Sunday, either Mendenhall or Dwyer must be ready or the Steelers face a potential depth issue as back up Baron Batch (Shin) missed practice Thursday and was downgraded from Wednesday where he was limited. Without one of those, Rainey could be called on to carry a tremendous workload, as although he has practiced all week, Redman has missed the past two games after being injured against the Tennessee Titans.

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Tags: Baron Batch, Chris Rainey, Football, Hurricane Sandy, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, LaMarr Woodley, New York Giants, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall, Stevenson Sylvester

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