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Steelers injury-riddled DE Smith to return

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By Scott Brown
Monday, Aug. 22, 2011

• Starting defensive end Aaron Smith, who missed another practice Sunday because of swelling in his knee, said he plans to return to the field Tuesday. Smith, who is off today with the rest of the Steelers players, is anxious to start practicing again. "Personally, I feel like I need all of the reps I can get," said Smith, who is going into his 13th season and missed the final 13 games last season because of a partially torn triceps. He hasn't practiced since playing in the Steelers' preseason opener on Aug. 12. Smith said he wanted to return sooner, but the Steelers are erring on the side of caution.

• Rookie left tackle Marcus Gilbert, who left last Saturday's game with a hyperextended knee, practiced yesterday. "Just keep moving forward and getting better and better," the Steelers' second-round pick said when asked about his return to practice. Cornerback Bryant McFadden (quad and hamstring) practiced on a limited basis yesterday. McFadden has missed both of the Steelers' preseason games. He said he is hoping to play some Saturday against the visiting Atlanta Falcons.

• Wide receiver Hines Ward didn't practice yesterday, getting a veterans day off from coach Mike Tomlin. Ward has been working his way into football shape after opening training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. "It's still training camp. Legs are tired, and we're just keeping our eye on certain things," said Ward, who was put on the PUP list because he was still recovering from thumb surgery. "I want to be fresh. I feel good as far as running my routes. My conditioning's still not where I want it to be, but I'm not really worried about that. It's just a matter of gradually getting there.

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