The Pittsburgh Steelers officially got back to work Thursday in preparation for the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football this week.
When they took the practice field, they had rookie Ryan Shazier and safety Shamarko Thomas returning to the practice field, although on a limited basis.
Shazier (knee) has missed the past three weeks after being injured against the Carolina Panthers in Week 3, and his status for the Texans game is still very much in doubt depending on how his knee responds to the practice workload.
Thomas (hamstring) was injured in the team's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5 and missed the Week 6 loss to the Cleveland Browns due to the injury.
Compounding Thomas' injury is safety Mike Mitchell (knee) missing practice, leaving the position of safety up in the air leading into the weekend. Mitchell hasn't been ruled out and has typically been given a day off to start the work week, but if Mitchell and Thomas both cannot play Monday, the duties of safety would fall to veteran Will Allen.
Joining Mitchell in missing practice were tight end/fullback Will Johnson (illness), Brett Keisel (knee), Steve McLendon (shoulder) and Ike Taylor (broken arm). Keisel's injury status could lead to rookie Stephon Tuitt's first start of his NFL career.
The Steelers will release their final injury report Saturday due to the team having an extra day of practice in advance of their game on Monday Night Football.