Hampton expected to practice

The Steelers defense could get a boost this week with nose tackle Casey Hampton expected to return to practice, which in turn will determine his availability for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field.

Hampton missed the last three games with a shoulder injury, replaced in the lineup against Tennessee and Jacksonville by Chris Hoke and against Arizona by Steve McLendon.

"We are going to look hard this week at Hines Ward in terms of his participation and let that be our guide in terms of his readiness along with Casey Hampton," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "I think Casey Hampton has taken a step. He is scheduled to practice on Wednesday. We'll see where their participation leads us. We could get him back in the fold and that would be a nice shot in the arm for us upfront defensively."

In other injury news it's status-quo for linebackers James Harrison (eye) and Jason Worilds (quadriceps), guard Doug Legursky (toe), as well as Hoke (neck), all who missed the Cardinals game.

Rookie cornerback Curtis Brown has been added to the injury list with back spasms and his availability will be based on how much work he gets in practice.

"We don't know how that will limit him, but being a young guy if he is limited throughout the week that could affect his potential participation," said Tomlin. "We believe in reps, particularly reps for young people."

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