Slew of injuries forcing Steelers to get creative

Halfway through the season, it’s safe to say every team is dealing with its share of injuries and Pittsburgh is no exception.

Just days away from their pivotal rematch with the Ravens, the Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin are busy shuffling around their schemes in order to fill the holes created by so many injured players.

Defensively, there are several questions at the linebacker position. James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, James Farrior and Jason Worilds are all on the road to recovery, but all could be on the sidelines Sunday night.

As the Washington Post reports, Harrison has been cleared to practice after missing the last four games with an orbital bone fracture, but the 2008 AP Defensive Player of the Year posted on Twitter that it looked like he wasn’t going to be able to play this weekend. Woodley, who left Sunday’s game against New England with a hamstring injury, seems a bit more optimistic, however, cautioning everyone “not to count me out yet.”

For Farrior and Worilds, practice this week will come in a limited capacity, forcing Tomlin to take a look at increasing the role of his backups, possibly even switching to a 4-3 scheme, a radical shift from the Steelers’ trademark 3-4 setup.

On the other side of the ball, receiver Hines Ward has been practicing this week after suffering an ankle injury and missing the Patriots game. Emmanuel Sanders, meanwhile, suffered the passing of his mother Tuesday and is dealing with a left knee injury, leaving his status for Sunday night’s game up in the air.

Despite the injuries, Pittsburgh is playing its best football of the season. At 6-2, the defending AFC champions are atop the AFC North, and will look to stay there and get a taste of revenge after the Ravens won their Week 1 meeting in dominating fashion.