One of the four former Pro Bowl players who sat out Wednesday’s Pittsburgh Steelers practice returned for Thursday’s session, but cornerback Joe Haden and guard David DeCastro joined quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as those who remained out because of injury.
Haden (hamstring) and DeCastro (broken hand) were injured during this past week’s season-opening tie at Cleveland. Coty Sensabaugh and B.J. Finney, respectively, would start in their place if either can’t play in Sunday’s home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Defensive end Cameron Heyward, though, was a full practice participant Thursday after he missed Wednesday because of a knee injury.
Heyward’s backup, veteran Tyson Alualu, also returned to practice (albeit in a limited capacity) after he did not take part in Wednesday’s session.
DeCastro has said the severe swelling in his hand could be what prevents him from playing or practicing. If Finney starts in his place, it would mean that three of his eight career starts would be against Kansas City, a team from a city he grew up less than three hours away from and went to college less than two hours west of.
“It’s kind of funny,” Finney said. “We all get a little laugh out of it – somehow, some way it falls on me to play against Kansas City.”
Finney is the top backup at all three interior offensive line spots, but his only previous NFL regular-season starting experience has been at left guard and center. He also spent most of this past training camp as the first-team left guard while Ramon Foster recovered from a knee injury.
“This spring and summer, obviously, I played center and left guard primarily, but (offensive line coach Mike Munchak) does a good job rotating us all through so we can get the reps we need to be effective at our job,” Finney said.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.