Brett Keisel walked off the practice field today offering some tips and some encouragement to practice squad defensive end Brian Arnfelt. That's about the extent to which Keisel can contribute these days as he tries to work his way back from a foot injury.
"This has been hell, just sitting around and wishing I could be out there with my teammates," Keisel said.
Keisel missed the Nov. 17 game against the Detroit Lions and the Nov. 24 game at Cleveland after being injured on Nov. 10 against Buffalo. He returned for the Steelers' Thanksgiving night appearance in Baltimore but only lasted a few snaps, "probably 15 or so," he said.
Keisel missed last Sunday's game against Miami and won't play Sunday night against Cincinnati.
"I'm a captain on this team," he continued. "I'm used to being out there with my teammates. I want to fight with my teammates. That's the hardest part, not being able to go out there and fight with your brothers.
"As much work as you put in during the offseason getting ready to go and then a foot takes you out, it's just frustrating. I probably pushed it too hard initially, and it set me back. And now it's just trying to get it to where I can go out and perform the way I'm capable of."
The opportunities to do so are dwindling.
The Steelers will have two regular-season games remaining in Keisel's 12th season with the team after the Bengals game.
"I'm never going to quit," he said. "I understand what's going on with this being the last year of my contract, and I'm the oldest guy on the defense (35) and what not. I still feel like I can play if I'm healthy.
"That's probably been the most frustrating part, knowing I can still do it and not being able to."
Steelers' Status report for game vs. Cincinnati:
OUT: Brett Keisel
QUESTIONABLE: Steve McLendon
PROBABLE: Kelvin Beachum, David DeCastro, Ziggy Hood, Jerricho Cotchery, Marcus Gilbert, Troy Polamalu, Emmanuel Sanders