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Steelers notebook: DeCastro placed on IR, can return after 8 weeks

| Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, 7:38 p.m.

The Steelers on Friday placed guard David DeCastro on injured reserve and designated him for return. Due to a new rule, DeCastro will be eligible to return after spending eight weeks on injured reserve.

DeCastro suffered a knee injury in the Steelers' third preseason game at Buffalo. He was the Steelers' first-round selection (24th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft and had been on target to start the opener.

To fill their 53-man roster, the Steelers signed second-year free agent cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed. Van Dyke was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the third round (81st overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft out of the Miami (Fla.).

• Linebacker James Harrison (knee) and running back Baron Batch (groin) are listed as questionable for Sunday's season opener against Denver. Safety Ryan Clark (sickle cell trait) and Stevenson Sylvester (knee) will not play, and linebackers Larry Foote (ankle) and Jason Worilds (wrist), defensive end Brett Keisel (ankle) and running back Isaac Redman (ankle) are probable.

• Running back Jonathan Dwyer got most of the first-team reps this week, but it's still unclear whether he or Redman will start. “(Reps) were going to happen regardless, whether (Redman) was going to start,” Dwyer said. Said Redman: “I've never been in this situation, so I really don't know what's going to happen.” Rashard Mendenhall, listed as doubtful, said he's not sure if he'll play but feels confident his surgically repaired knee can hold up.

• Safety Troy Polamalu on facing Peyton Manning in the opener: “It's just the next game on our schedule. There are different emotions with every game. There's a lot to be said about facing possibly the greatest quarterback to play the game who is now on a different team in a different uniform.”

• Curtis Brown is nursing sore knees but expects to play. The second-year cornerback has been slowed since bruising his right knee in the preseason finale.

• The Steelers flinched only slightly in the heat during Friday's practice. Most agreed the 90-degree temperatures are necessary as they prepare to play in the mile-high altitude. “We are acclimated to the altitude because of the heat we've had all camp, but we have to stay hydrated,” said nose tackle Casey Hampton, who insisted he'll start.

— Ralph N. Paulk

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