Steelers’ David DeCastro unlikely to play, Marcus Gilbert doubtful
It could be a case of deja vu for Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert, whose absence in Week 3 last season began a run of six games missed in a seven-game stretch because of hamstring injuries.
Gilbert is dealing with another hamstring issue that could keep him out Monday night at Tampa Bay.
Gilbert was limited in practice Saturday after missing the previous two days, and his game status is doubtful.
Right guard David DeCastro (hand) and strong safety Morgan Burnett (groin) also are listed as doubtful.
Gilbert estimated he will be a game-time decision.
“I feel so,” Gilbert said. “I’m very hopeful where I’m at right now, but I don’t want to jinx myself. I’ll keep rehabbing and see what I can do.”
If Gilbert can’t play, Matt Feiler will make his first NFL start at right tackle. Feiler hasn’t started a game at the position since he was in college at Division II Bloomsburg.
The offensive line configuration Saturday featured four players who were not drafted coming out of college: left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, left guard Ramon Foster, right guard B.J. Finney and Feiler at right tackle. In the middle was former first-rounder Maurkice Pouncey at center.
“We’re confident with any of the guys we put in because they’ve prepared for this moment,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert doesn’t want a repeat of last season. Starting in Week 3, he missed three games with a hamstring injury. He returned for the game at Kansas City but left in the second quarter and missed the final two games before the bye week.
“As long as I feel healthy enough to go in the game and handle the pain comfort, I’ll do what I have to do to help our team get the win,” Gilbert said. “One thing I don’t want to do is get out there and put my team in harm’s way.”
DeCastro didn’t practice again Saturday because of a broken hand and likely will miss his second consecutive game. Finney would take DeCastro’s place for the second game in a row.
Burnett did not practice for the second day in a row because of a groin injury, which means rookie first-rounder Terrell Edmunds likely will start against the Buccaneers. Edmunds also started the season opener in Cleveland while Edmunds played in certain subpackages.
“I feel like things are coming along better,” Edmunds said. “Everything is slowing down, and I’m getting more acclimated to the (NFL) game.”
Defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt returned to practice Saturday after sitting out Friday with an illness. Backup Tyson Alualu also practiced for the third consecutive day after he missed the game against the Chiefs with a shoulder injury. Cornerback Joe Haden also practiced fully for a third consecutive day after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.