The Pittsburgh Steelers now head into their bye week following their 34-31 loss Sunday against the Oakland Raiders and hopefully they come out of the backside of it a healthier unit.
While head coach Mike Tomlin did not give any injury updates during his post game press conference, it was obvious that tackle Marcus Gilbert (groin) aggravated his groin injury and that defensive end Ziggy Hood (leg/knee) suffered some sort of injury to his left leg or knee late in the game. We will not hear from Tomlin until a week from Tuesday, so it is unlikely we will learn more about those two injuries until then.
Linebacker James Harrison (knee) and safety Troy Polamalu (calf) are both question marks heading into the bye week. Harrison still has not practiced fully since the Steelers first OTA session this past offseason and he will be nearly 8 weeks removed from his knee procedure by the time the team returns from the bye. Should he not practice fully during the week leading up to the week 5 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, you have to really wonder if he will need another procedure done. Right now all we can do is speculate. One would think that Polamalu should be ready to go after the bye week, but that too is just speculation.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall (knee) has been practicing fully for some time now and his season debut very well could come against the Eagles. Todd Haley did say that the running back would be eased into action once he does return, so I wouldn\’t expect him to get a full load right out of the chute. Also back practicing fully now is linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (knee), who tore his MCL late in training camp. If he is ready following the bye, he would likely be penciled in immediately on special teams in place of Adrian Robinson.
Rookie tackle Mike Adams (back) was inactive against the Raiders with some sort of back injury as he failed to practice late last week as a result of it. Odds are that he will be ready after the bye. Tight end Heath Miller (abdomen) played against the Raiders with some sort of rib cartilage separation and looked no worse for the wear. The extra time off will certainly do him good and the Steelers offense certainly needs him 100%, or close to it.
There has been no update given as of late on rookie guard David DeCastro (knee), but he figures to be several weeks away still from practicing.