Injuries decimate Steelers' offensive line

PITTSBURGH -- It is too early to tell whether rookie running back Le'Veon Bell will be able to play Sunday after suffering a concussion in the Steelers’ 22-20 loss to the Ravens last Thursday night.

Whoever gets the bulk of the carries against the visiting Dolphins will run behind an offensive line that has been scrambled by more injuries.

The Steelers barely had enough offensive linemen to practice on Monday, and Guy Whimper said he played left tackle for the first-team offense with Kelvin Beachum out because of a knee injury.

The Steelers are already on their third center with Cody Wallace taking over for Fernando Velasco, who suffered a season-ending Achilles. They will also start their third different left tackle this season if Beachum is unable to play Sunday.

The Steelers will start their sixth different offensive line combination in the 1 p.m. game against the Dolphins.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Whimper said of the injuries that have decimated the Steelers’ offensive line. “This is crazy. It’s another obstacle we can get over, but we’ve just got to stick together as a unit.”

Whimper has started a game each at both guard positions and also played right tackle. The eighth-year veteran is in line to start against the Dolphins if Beachum and offensive tackle Mike Adams (ankle) are unable to play

Beachum and Adams, along with starting right guard David DeCastro (ankle) were among the four offensive linemen who left last Thursday night’s game with injuries.

“This year’s been kind of unusual in that way,” Wallace said of the injuries, “but we’ve had guys that have stepped in and done a good job of filling those roles.”

Wallace hopes to do the same when he makes his first career NFL start, and he won’t be the only lineman who benefits from the extra day of practice the Steelers get this week since they played last Thursday.

Center Eric Olsen, who signed with the Steelers to provide depth, practiced with the Steelers on Monday. Olsen spent Thanksgiving with his family, and the Steelers called him late Friday morning.

By the afternoon he was on a plane to Pittsburgh, and Olsen has since been in cramming mode as the third-year veteran learns a new offense.

“They’re trying to ease me in and come up for air so to speak.” Olsen said. “Luckily for me football’s football, so it’s coming along. I’m going to catch up as fast as I can.”