Cortez Allen misses practice again

PITTSBURGH -- Starting cornerback Cortez Allen didn’t practice for a second consecutive day because of a sprained ankle, making Friday a critical day if the third-year veteran is to play Monday night at Cincinnati.

If Allen does not play against the Bengals, William Gay will start at opposite Ike Taylor and rookie safety Shamarko Thomas will again play nickel back.

Along with Allen, running back Le'Veon Bell (foot) and cornerback Curtis Brown (illness) did not practice on Thursday.

Tight end Heath Miller (knee), nose tackle Steve McLendon (hamstring) and kicker Shaun Suisham (hamstring) were limited participants in practice.

Miller is unlikely to play in Cincinnati, but he continues to get closer to returning to action following offseason knee surgery.

“It’s just great to see him out here practicing with the guys,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. “He looks like he’s making progress.”

Suisham sustained a minor hamstring injury in pre-game warm-ups last Sunday, and the Steelers signed veteran kicker Shayne Graham a day later as insurance.

The Steelers don’t have to make a decision on whether Suisham or Graham kicks against the Bengals until early Monday evening when teams have to set their active roster for the game.

“Tweaked it,” Suisham said of his left hamstring. “I’ll be fine.”