The Pittsburgh Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive by becoming the first AFC North combatant to win on the road when the completed their 27-11 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. While that is a positive step, the injury situation clouds some critical areas, especially on this short week as the Steelers face their hated rivals the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving Night.Steve McLendon suffered an ankle injury against the Browns and is already been designated out for the Ravens game. This injury now complicates the player rotation in the thin defensive front. With McLendon out and Keisel questionable, Al Woods, would likely start at the nose tackle position, with seldom used Hebron Fangupo becoming the only reserve lineman if Keisel cannot go.
With this injury situation in flux, it does make sense why the Steelers have not made a corresponding roster move after placing cornerback Curtis Brown on injured reserve with a torn ACL. Brown, who has been a special team’s standout, was injured against the Browns covering a punt. With the Ravens history of torching the Steelers special team’s this could be a big loss. At first glance, cornerback Isaiah Green is on the practice squad and would likely be re-signed. Of course, if the team needs to boost their defensive line, they may decide to go a different direction.
At this point, the team could see injured players Keisel (foot), linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf) and safety Shamarko Thomas (ankle) return this week if they can hold up through the short work week. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Keisel, Woodley and reserve safety Shamarko Thomas will be watched closely in practice Tuesday to determine if they’ll be able to play Thursday. Their return could boost the defense that has already been playing at a high level over the teams’ three-game winning streak. While those players have a shot at returning, it looks unlikely that Stevenson Sylvester will return after missing the past game with a hamstring injury.
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