Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Keisel likely out for banged-up Steelers
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers will have to try to beat the Dolphins Sunday while they are shorthanded.
How many starters they will be missing for the 1 p.m. ET game, however, remains to be seen.
Defensive end Brett Keisel isn’t expected to play Sunday, and the Steelers could also be missing left tackle Kelvin Beachum and right guard David DeCastro because of knee and ankle injuries, respectively.
The Steelers are optimistic that running back Le’Veon Bell will be able to play despite sustaining a concussion from a nasty goal-line collision last Thursday night in Baltimore. Bell did some running on Monday and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the rookie is on track to practice at some point this week.
“Thus far it’s been very positive with him, which is good,” Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “We’ll continue to march him back to health and make sure he goes through the necessary checkpoints to return.”
Bell has to pass a battery of tests throughout the week before he is cleared to play against the Dolphins.
Tomlin all but ruled out Keisel, who lasted just a handful of snaps last Thursday night before the plantar fasciitis that has plagued the 12th-year veteran sidelined hm.
“He had a step backwards, obviously, when he returned to action and I think he’ll be out this week,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin said Beachum and DeCastro are questionable for Sunday.
Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf), nose tackle Steve McLendon (ankle) and offensive tackle Mike Adams (ankle) are at least expected to practice on a limited basis this week with an eye toward playing against the Dolphins.
In other injury news, center Fernando Velasco had surgery last Saturday to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. Velasco had been one of the Steelers’ most unsung players as he helped stabilize the offensive line after the loss of Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey to a torn ACL in the season opener.
Cody Wallace takes over for Velasco at center, and he will make his first NFL start on Sunday.
“I can’t say enough about what he’s done for us and the manner in which he’s done it,” Tomlin said of Velasco.