Steelers to get back Brett Keisel

Updated: November 27, 2013, 4:22 PM ET
By Scott Brown | ESPN.com

PITTSBURGH -- Brett Keisel practiced all week, and the veteran defensive end is expected to return to action Thursday night when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Baltimore Ravens for a crucial AFC North game.

Keisel, who missed the past two games with plantar faciitis, is listed as probable for the game at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Steelers will likely be without two defensive starters when they try to extend their winning streak to four games and sweep the Ravens for the first time since 2008. Pittsburgh and Baltimore are among six teams with 5-6 records vying for the AFC's second wild-card spot.

Nose tackle Steve McLendon has been ruled out with a sprained ankle, and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley is listed as doubtful because of a calf injury.

Woodley, who leads the Steelers with five sacks, is likely to miss his third consecutive game and 12th dating to 2011 because of injuries.

Keisel is tied with defensive end Cameron Heyward for the team lead in quarterback pressures (23), and his return gives the Steelers more flexibility if they use a rotation at nose tackle in place of McLendon.

Al Woods is expected to start at nose tackle but Hebron Fangupo should also play in the middle of the Steelers' defense.

Ziggy Hood, who has started the past two games at right defensive end for Keisel, is an option there as well.

In addition to Keisel, rookie safety Shamarko Thomas is also listed as probable after missing the past two games with a sprained ankle.

Also listed as probable are right tacke Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring). 

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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