By Christina Rivers
The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a full compliment of players on their starting roster Sunday as they head into Jacksonville to take on the 0-4 Jaguars. While Ike Taylor (broken forearm) and Ryan Shazier (knee) are out, and are expected to have a long recovery period, the Steelers were able to get several shaky players back on the practice field.
Offensive guard Ramon Foster was inserted into the left guard position in practice this week after missing Pittsburgh’s last two games with an ankle injury. Fellow lineman Marcus Gilbert was limited early this week but was able to return fully on Friday. This should give the offensive line a boost as long as both stay healthy in the game.
Second-year wide receiver Markus Wheaton was a limited participant for most of the week with a groin injury that has been a persistent issue. Wheaton was a full participant on Friday, which will most likely mean that the Steelers will work him into the lineup very slowly, not wanting to create any more problems. If Wheaton doesn’t dress this Sunday, Justin Brown and Darrius Heyward-Bey are the most likely options opposite Antonio Brown. Lance Moore took more snaps this week in the slot receiver position. Rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant was ill on Wednesday and Thursday, but was able to return to full practice on Friday. Word on whether Bryant will be worked into the lineup has not been revealing.
Again this week, the Steelers allowed several players time off that was not injury related. The list included veterans Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Keisel, Troy Polamalu, Heath Miller and Mike Mitchell.
Recently re-signed veteran outside linebacker James Harrison missed his first day of practice this week with an illness that is not considered to be serious enough to keep him from playing on Sunday.
The Jaguars will be without four players on their roster when they face Pittsburgh. Cornerback Dwayne Gratz suffered a concussion and was evaluated throughout the week, but was unable to return. Wide receivers Marquise Lee and Cecil Shorts III are both suffering from hamstring injuries. Tight end Mickey Shuler will miss the game due to illness.
Listed as probable for the Jaguars are: Defensive end Andre Branch (hip flexor), defensive end Ryan Davis (shoulder), defensive tackle Roy Miller (ankle), offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (hand), linebacker Paul Poasluszny (knee) and fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou (ankle). Branch didn’t get back to practice until Friday and was limited, which may point to him not being a part of the Jaguars squad Sunday.
Steelers Injury Recap
Martavis Bryant (WR, illness)
Ramon Foster (G, ankle)
Marcus Gilbert (T, ankle)
James Harrison (LB, illness)
Brett Keisel (DE, non-injury related)
Heath Miller (TE, non-injury related)
Mike Mitchell (S, non-injury related)
Troy Polamalu (S, non-injury related)
Ben Roethlisberger (QB, non-injury related)
Markus Wheaton (WR, groin)
Ryan Shazier (LB, knee)
Ike Taylor (CB, forearm)
For more Steelers news and updates, visit Steelers Central.
Christina Rivers has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League professionally as a reporter and photographer for over a decade. Rivers studied exercise physiology and sports psychology at Brigham Young University as a student-athlete. Christina is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. Her work can be found on