Steelers Watch Long List of Injuries Shrink Quickly on Thursday

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- Wednesday afternoon, the Steelers' injury report listed nine players who missed practice. 

Thursday showed a different story. The Steelers returned all their injured players besides two during their second-last practice of the week. 

James Conner (ankle), Diontae Johnson (toe), JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), Alejandro Villanueva (illness) and Stephon Tuitt (achilles) all returned as full participants during practice Thursday. Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey rejoined the group after a veteran's day off.

David DeCastro (knee) and Stefen Wisniewski (pectoral) both missed their second practice of the week. Head coach Mike Tomlin said he'd "leave the door open" for Wisniewski to play in Week 2, but his availability is unlikely after missing two days. 

DeCastro continues to be sidelined with a knee injury. He hasn't practiced since the team's first padded week of training camp. 

The Steelers will likely lean on rookie Kevin Dotson to start on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. The fourth-round pick played just six snaps in Week 1. 

Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said he feels confident in the offensive line, even with a rookie starting, due to the Steelers' veterans throughout the starting five. 

"I may have a little more grey hair thinking about it but in no way would we put anyone in that's a part of our roster that I won't get a good nights sleep, because I trust them," Fichtner said. 

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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