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Monday, October 20, 2014

Steelers Injury Report: Ryan Shazier, Brett Keisel, Steve McLendon

By on 10/20/2014 03:00:00 PM

The Pittsburgh Steelers could have some significant injuries on the defensive side of the ball when they welcome the Houston Texans on “Monday Night Football.”

Pittsburgh's offense appears to be relatively healthy, but the Steelers have several defensive players listed on their final Week 7 injury report. None may be more significant than rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier, who was able to return to practice this week and is listed as questionable after missing the past three weeks with a knee injury.

Safety Shamarko Thomas appeared to be on track to return from a hamstring injury, but has been ruled out after missing practice on Thursday and Friday.

Nose Tackle Steve McLendon sustained a shoulder injury last week against the Cleveland Browns and has been ruled out, leaving rookie Daniel McCullers to start in his place. Cornerback Ike Taylor remains sidelined with the broken forearm he suffered Week 3, so Pittsburgh could be down as many as three defensive starters depending on Shazier's status.

Defensive end Brett Keisel missed practice on Thursday with a knee injury. Keisel is probable to play, but it will be interesting to see if Pittsburgh needs to reduce the number of snaps the 36-year-old takes.

Fellow defensive end Cameron Heyward is dealing with a minor ankle injury but was able to return to full practice by Friday. Safety Mike Mitchell is also probable with a knee injury.

Troy Polamalu received a regular day off on Thursday. Fullback Will Johnson is the only offensive player listed, but expects to play despite suffering from an illness earlier in the week.

Houston's offense has not been particularly effective, especially passing the ball, but the Steelers' defense struggled mightily last week in a blowout loss to the Browns. Getting Shazier back and having young fill-ins like McClullers step up could help Pittsburgh get back on track and move back above .500 on Monday night.  

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