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Steelers Week 14 injury report: Marcus Gilbert out, James Harrison doubtful

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Much of Sunday's game against AFC North-leading Cincinnati could come down to how well backups can play in place of starters, particularly right tackle Mike Adams.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers will give Mike Adams his second consecutive start and third start in 2014 at right tackle, as Marcus Gilbert sits out with an ankle injury.

Adams was savaged against the Saints in Week 13, a 35-32 loss for Pittsburgh, and he represents a weakness for the Steelers' offense against Cincinnati on Sunday. Despite a feeling of optimism having Adams in there based on a decent performance against the Colts in Week 7, in his first start of the 2014 season and first at right tackle since 2012, he was beaten badly throughout the loss to the Saints, as the Steelers' 32 points were more indicative of a second-half prevent defense from New Orleans aimed at keeping Steelers' receivers in front of them and in bounds.

James Harrison is listed as doubtful, not having practiced all week. Jarvis Jones was activated from the IR-Recall list on Saturday and it was reported he would see action in passing situations against the Bengals. That would suggest Arthur Moats will get the start at right outside linebacker, but the pair will rotate in and out. The Bengals are averaging more than 40 pass attempts per game against Pittsburgh in their last three meetings, but also are averaging 124.5 rushing yards per game, the ninth-best total in the NFL.

Nose tackle Steve McLendon is listed as questionable, despite having practiced fully all week. He has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury. With starting defensive end Brett Keisel out for the year with a torn triceps, rookie Stephon Tuitt will get the start, dropping the level of experience along the Steelers' defensive line considerably. If McLendon cannot play, Cam Thomas would likely be the starting nose tackle.

Rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier is expected to return after having missed the last three games with an ankle injury. He will likely rotate with ILBs Vince Williams and Sean Spence.

Cornerback Brice McCain (hamstring), safety Troy Polamalu (illness), tight end Heath Miller (not injury related), CB Ike Taylor (shoulder) and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related) are listed as probable.