Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said this afternoon during his weekly news conference that the Steelers are as healthy as they have been this season and expects everyone on the 53-man roster to be available for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings in London.
Tomlin will welcome the return of two starters. Cornerback Cortez Allen, who was injured in the first half of the opener against Tennessee and missed the past two games, appears almost fully recovered from an ankle injury. Tomlin said he is "optimistic" that Allen will be able to play.
Tomlin said the same for rookie running back Le'Veon Bell, who injured his foot in the second preseason game at Washington and did not play in the first three regular-season games.
"He perked up dramatically at the end of last week," Tomlin said. "We'll let practice dictate his availability."
The Steelers lost their third consecutive game to the start the season for the first time since 2000 when they fell to the Bears, 40-23, Sunday night. But Tomlin was able to find some positives in the defeat. Heath Miller, playing for the first time since reconstructive knee surgery in January, played 39 snaps on offense and had three receptions for 35 yards.
"Heath Miller really did a nice job," Tomlin said. "He performed well. We'll move forward with hopefully no restrictions whatsoever."
The only injuries sustained in the Bears game were minor. Defensive linemen Brett Keisel and Steve McLendon are dealing with hamstring injuries, but Tomlin expects them to play in London.
The Steelers and Vikings enter the game with 0-3 records, but they're approaching the game in London different. The Vikings flew to London today and will practice there for three days before the game. The Steelers will go through their normal routine today, Wednesday and Thursday before flying to London Thursday night for an early Friday arrival.
"I think traveling Thursday night and getting there Friday morning will provide us enough opportunity to adjust to the time difference," Tomlin said. "I value normalcy in the early part of the week."
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published September 24, 2013 4:45 AM