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Steelers’ OL DeCastro, Gilbert expected to return vs. Ravens

September 28, 2018

PITTSBURGH (AP) — It looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers will return the starting right side of their offensive line for a home divisional rivalry meeting with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night.

Starting right guard David DeCastro and right tackle Marcus Gilbert both practiced in full this week after missing the team’s first win Monday at Tampa Bay because of injury.

“I feel really good,” DeCastro said. “I’m just looking forward to getting back out there.”

DeCastro broke a bone in his right hand during the season opener at Cleveland and missed the previous two games against Kansas City and Tampa Bay. Gilbert missed Monday’s game against the Buccaneers with a hamstring injury. Both were full participants in practice this week.

“That’s behind me now,” Gilbert said. “It’s just a little hiccup, but that’s the case with injuries. I had to do whatever I had to do to get back out on the field.”

DeCastro said Friday the swelling is subsiding and strength is returning in his injured hand. He also said he plans to wear a protective brace on his hand during Sunday’s game for preventive measures.

DeCastro sustained a significant knee injury, causing him to miss most of his rookie season in 2012, but the two-time All-Pro has been durable ever since. He followed it by starting 79 of the next 81 games, including a streak of 71 starts that was the longest among active NFL guards at the time.

“I’ve been pretty lucky the past couple years,” DeCastro said. “I did everything I could to get back to this point and now here I am, so we’ll go from there.”

Gilbert has missed 12 games the previous two seasons after starting 44 of 48. Gilbert planned to test his injured hamstring last week against Tampa Bay in pregame warmups, but heavy rains kept him sidelined.

“I would never know if I could’ve gone out there and tried, but the rain prohibited it,” Gilbert said.

B.J. Finney and Matt Feiler filled in while DeCastro and Gilbert were out.

Finney made consecutive starts against Kansas City and Tampa Bay at right guard, the eighth and ninth of his career. Feiler started at tackle, his second NFL start and first at the position since the 2013 NCAA Division II playoffs when he was a senior at Bloomsburg University.

“They did everything that was expected of them,” Gilbert said. “Those guys are starter-capable guys. You can’t call them backups. We have a lot of depth in our room, so that’s expected of us.”

Finney and Feiler helped Ben Roethlisberger earn AFC offensive player of the week honors after the Steelers quarterback threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns against Tampa Bay.

“It was fun watching them in prime time and seeing them get some playing time,” DeCastro said. “They went out there, they proved themselves and we got a win, so I’m happy for them.”

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster also said Friday he expects to play after managing an abdomen injury this week. He said the injury initially happened in the first half of the Steelers’ loss against Kansas City two weeks ago.

Smith-Schuster did not practice Wednesday and he was limited Thursday before working out in full on Friday. The second-year receiver ranks fifth in the league with 356 receiving yards and a touchdown through three games.

“This year, I’m out here, I know what to do, where to go and I know all the positions,” Smith-Schuster said. “Having that chemistry with (Roethlisberger) and a lot of the guys the past few games, it’s very fun for me to be out there right now.”

NOTES: Two defensive starters were listed as doubtful: S Morgan Burnett with a groin injury, CB Mike Hilton with a hyperextended elbow. Both worked in limited capacity on Thursday, but did not practice Friday. Burnett practiced in full on Wednesday.

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