By Teresa Varley
The old saying no news is good news holds true this week for the Steelers when it comes to their injury report.
"Looking at our injuries I will tell you this is as good as we have had it coming out of a football game," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "The majority of the injuries are the pre-existing ones."
Defensive end Travis Kirschke is the only one who was listed with an injury from the Patriots game on Sunday. Kirschke experienced back discomfort and spasms and is availability for practice on Wednesday isn't known yet.
Fellow defensive end Brett Keisel with miss his second straight game after suffering a knee injury against the Bengals and tackle Marvel Smith's status has remained unchanged. Smith has suffered back pain throughout the season and has missed a large chunk of playing time.
"I am hopeful, but at the same time I am just going off the information the doctors provide us," said Tomlin of whether or not he thinks Smith will return to action this season. "He is not ready to play at this point. We'll just continue to support him and see what direction it goes in."
Tomlin was asked if Smith is a candidate for injured reserve, but at this point that isn't in the coach's mindset.
"That is not a question at this time," said Tomlin. "Marvel is a veteran football player and a high quality person and player. If we have an opportunity to get a contribution from him as we move forward, then of course we are going to try and pursue that if we can."
Cornerback Bryant McFadden, who has missed the past six games with a broken forearm, could be back in action this week against the Cowboys.
"He was pretty close last week," said Tomlin. "I think he is going to get over the top this week. It will be good to put him back in the mix."
Running back Willie Parker had a strong performance against the Patriots with 87 yards rushing after leaving the Bengals game early because he irritated his already injured knee. While Tomlin knows the knee isn't perfect, he doesn't think it will be an issue even though Parker could be held out of practice on Wednesday.
"It's not an issue and it's probably not 100%," said Tomlin. "It's December football. We expect him to play for us. We need to do what we can in terms of letting him get to the game in the best condition he can be in and whether or not that includes a Wednesday practice is to be seen."
One player you won't see on the injury report is linebacker James Harrison. Harrison was taken to the locker room before halftime against the Patriots because of back pain, but came back in the second half and recorded two sacks leading to two forced fumbles, both which the Steelers recovered.
"James is fine. James is great," said Tomlin. "I am really not up to speed about some of the things that were reported about his back. I know he hurt himself on a field goal attempt at the end of the half. I spoke to him briefly at halftime in the locker room and he said he was going to be fine. That was the extent of the discussion I had with him. Based on his performance in the second half I don't think we need to list him with the group of injured players."