Bye weeks are often the perfect time for a team that has bumps and bruises to get healthy, and that is definitely the case for the Steelers this week.
Injuries have hit the team early and often this season, with time lost by starters growing rapidly each week.
"I don't think since I have been here I have seen this many injuries occur this early," said Marcus Gilbert, who has been sidelined since he injured his ankle against Kansas City on Oct. 2. "Guys are taking advantage of it this week, getting treatment, so when we come back everyone will be healthy and ready to go. We want to see guys get back and contribute."
Among those targeting a return after the bye is Gilbert, who said he plans on playing against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 6.
"I felt pretty good last week, but wasn't ready to play," said Gilbert. "Getting another week under my belt, and especially this bye week, I will be ready to go for the next game. I am going to need this and take full advantage of it.
"I hate being a spectator. My back gets tight on the sideline. When things aren't going right in the game you want to be out there, do something, and do your part for the team. It's hard, but you have to be encouraging to the others who are playing. Whatever my role is that day I will be that."
Cameron Heyward, who missed the last two games, said he is working on getting back the minute he can from his hamstring injury, hoping that will be sooner rather than later.
"I have to work on my conditioning to come back as soon as possible," said Heyward. "We were working on that as soon as I got injured. We started to kick if up a little bit. We just have to take it day-by-day. I have to make sure I am pushing myself so I am ready to go when we get back."
The player who is really chomping at the bit to get on the field is Ladarius Green. Green, who signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, is on the physically unable to perform list and hasn't practiced yet with the team. He is eligible to come off the list, and when he does the team has 21 days to decide if they want to activate him. Green is hoping the clock starts ticking this week and he can practice. He said he is physically ready to go, but waiting for clearance from Coach Mike Tomlin to hit the field.
"Everything is getting better. Everything is progressing," said Green. "I am just waiting to get the word. (Coach) knows I want to be out there. It's up to him to do what is best for the team. I agree with whatever he decides, like I have been doing. He will make the right decision."
Ben Roethlisberger is another player who will benefit from the bye week. Roethlisberger had successful outpatient arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week, and there is no definite timetable for his return. But his teammates are feeling like he will get back out there sooner rather than later as well, but don't want him to risk it.
"He has been looking good," said Gilbert. "Seeing him walking around, he has a little bit of a pep to his step. It's really encouraging. We just have to see next week when we come back how he is progressing. For me, I am saying take as much time you need to get 100 percent healthy and come back right so you don't have any setbacks. Whenever he is ready I am sure he will be out there first thing because we need him."