The clock has started on guard Kevin Dotson's return from the Reserve/Injured list.
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada is eager to see how quickly Dotson can answer the bell.
"Obviously, him coming back, if he's at full strength and ready to go, would be awesome for us," Canada said prior to practice today. "It's been a process to get him there.
"We're hopeful as we move forward."
Dotson started the first nine games at left guard but would up suffering a high-ankle sprain in the Steelers' 16-16 tie with the Lions on Nov. 14.
J.C. Hassenauer, B.J. Finney and John Leglue have started games at left guard and Joe Haeg has taken snaps at the position in the five games Dotson has missed.
The Steelers prepare for the Week 16 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs
Right guard Trai Turner has started every game this season, as have left tackle Dan Moore Jr. and center Kendrick Green.
Right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor has started every game but one (Oct. 3 at Green Bay).
Dotson's unavailability hurt the Steelers from a stability/continuity standpoint at the left guard position, and because the Steelers had been starting to see from Dotson what they had been hoping to all along.
"I really thought 'Dot' was coming," Canada said. "Early on in camp he was nicked up and it took a while and here we go. And then you really started to see him come on and make some plays.
"I can remember the touchdown against the Browns, he pulled and made a big block. And you started to see him playing with kinda what we all remembered, with that energy and confidence."
Dotson pulled and sealed off defensive end Jadeveon Clowney at the outset of what became an 8-yard touchdown run by running back Najee Harris on Oct. 31 in Cleveland.
It was a play reminiscent of the impact potential Dotson established while appearing in 13 games and starting four as a rookie in 2020.
"It was really unfortunate that he got hurt," Canada said.
Dotson was placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Nov. 20.
He returned to practice on Wednesday, starting the three-week clock the Steelers have at their disposal to either activate him onto the 53-man roster or lose Dotson for the rest of the season.
"We'll see out here today and tomorrow how we kind of move around in practice and where he's at in comparison to our other guys and, as always, try to pick the best five (offensive linemen), the best and the most healthy five we have at this time," Canada said.
"There's still a rust factor. There's nothing like experience and reps. The fact that he hasn't got any (while on the Reserve/Injured list), we'll have to just see where that is. I'm not gonna minimize that."