PITTSBURGH — Seven Steelers did not practice on Thursday as the team began preparations for Monday night’s division showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals.
But the absences probably aren’t as alarming as the total suggests. Cornerback Joe Haden (sprained right AC joint) has missed the first practice of the week two straight weeks but played both times.
Inside linebacker Mark Barron and center Maurkice Pouncey’s absences were classified as “not injury related” by the team.
The other absences are more conquering. Head coach Mike Tomlin has already ruled fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee) out for this week, but he was hoping to see participation from the other injured Steelers in order for them to play on Monday.
But that wasn’t the case, as inside linebacker Vince Williams (hamstring), outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo (plantar fasciitis, right foot) and tight end Vance McDonald (shoulder) all did not practice.
McDonald was replaced last Sunday first by Xavier Grimble and then Zach Gentry when Grimble was injured. Grimble was placed on injured reserve when the Steelers acquired Nick Vannett from the Seattle Seahawks.
Chickillo was replaced by Ola Adeniyi. Williams has been replaced by first-round rookie Devin Bush and Barron’s absence would elevate Tyler Matakevich to a starting role. Barron has sporadically missed practices without an explanation throughout the early part of the season, but has played in all three games.