The Pittsburgh Steelers will be the healthiest they've been since Week 3 when they take on the Bengals this week. Several starters, including outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, are expected to return from injury this week in time for this AFC North clash.
For Jones, it will be the first time he's played in over two months if he's able to suit up. After breaking his wrist during Week 3, Jones was placed on short-term I.R., and just started practicing two weeks ago.
On Thursday, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said he could have Jones in the lineup this week.
#Steelers DC Dick LeBeau today said there is a "good chance" that LB Jarvis Jones will be activated off short-term IR and play Sunday— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) December 4, 2014
As Behind the steel Curtain notes, Jones was starting to live up to his billing as the 17th-overall pick in last year's draft before going down with the injury.
Also, he wasn't playing badly through 2.5 games this season. He had seven stops and two sacks in 10 quarters - perhaps not the kind of play befitting an All Pro guy, but enough splash-plays to think he's turning the corner in his second season.
If nothing else, it's a fresh body on a defense that has changed quite a bit from the last time Jones was playing consistently. His presence can be valuable within the team's sub-packages, and on special teams as well.
It's not looking as good for starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin indicated at his Tuesday press conference Gilbert was likely to return this week after an ankle injury caused him to miss this past Sunday’s loss to New Orleans.
However, Gilbert missed the first two days of practice this week after missing the final two days of practice last week. He did get a limited session in last Wednesday, but it's safe to say the ankle is still bothering enough that he should be considered somewhere between "questionable" and "doubtful" to play this week.
Gilbert missed a game earlier this year with a concussion, but has played in 10 of a possible 12 games this season.