While the Pittsburgh Steelers have been largely injury free this season, it would appear they will have several key players to worry about this week as they prepare to face the Denver Broncos on Sunday. After two starters were forced to miss the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, there is a chance the Steelers could be missing a few more names in Week 12.
When speaking to reports at his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Mike Tomlin highlighted new injury concerns for Anthony Chickillo and Matt Feiler and had little to offer in the way of encouraging news about the progress of Marcus Gilbert and Stephon Tuitt.
“We’ll see how Marcus Gilbert is, we’ll let his availability be our guide. I don’t know that he’ll work tomorrow, but again, we’ll see how he feels in the morning. Same could be said for Stephon Tuitt. We had a couple of injuries in game that should slow some guys at the early portions of the week, we’ll see how it goes. Chickillo, I think you saw him on the ground at the end of a special teams play at the end with an ankle. I know he’s been working hard, we’ll see what the early portion of the week looks like for him and Matt Feiler has a pec that he’s been working on downstairs. It didn't limit him in any of his snaps in game, but we want to watch him as we get into the front of the week here and see what it does to his availability at the front part of the week.”
Having missed the last four games in a row, it seems overly optimistic to bank on Gilbert being able to play on Sunday, especially if the coaching staff is already preparing for his absence on Wednesday. Since returning from the bye week with a knee injury, the starting right tackle has barely been able to practice, but Tomlin assured reporters Gilbert had not suffered a set back with his recovery when asked about him.
“I wouldn’t describe it as a setback, it’s probably not healing as fast as he or we would like, but that’s life.”
Although Feiler has filled in admirably with Gilbert sidelined, the Steelers will need to look to rookie Chukwuma Okorafor in Week 12 if his pectoral issue prevents him from playing. A worrying thought given the pass rushing talents of the Broncos.
With no depth at the outside linebacker position beyond the now injured Chickillo, his status will also be one to watch as we get closer to game day. However, In a since deleted tweet, rookie outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi suggested he would be practicing for the first time all year on Wednesday.