The Steelers aren't quite to the point of holding auditions at their South Side practice facility.
They will enter another game depleted at linebacker and thin enough on the inside that Joey Porter could see time there when the Steelers host the New Orleans Saints.
Starting inside linebackers James Farrior and Larry Foote have been slowed by groin and rib injuries, respectively, and reserve Clint Kriewaldt, like Farrior, has yet to practice this week, because of a bad back.
The Steelers did get good news Thursday when Foote was upgraded from questionable to probable for Sunday's 4:15 p.m. game at Heinz Field.
Farrior is listed as questionable, though he said he is "optimistic" he will play.
"It's like a virus that's going around with the linebackers group," Farrior said.
Indeed, the injury bug has already claimed Arnold Harrison (knee) for the season.
Harrison made his first NFL start last month in place of Porter, who missed two games with a hamstring problem.
James Harrison would have started for Porter, but he has been out the last month with a high ankle sprain.
With Kriewaldt likely unavailable for Sunday's game - he is listed as doubtful - the Steelers don't have many options if Farrior or Foote can't go against the Saints.
If both miss the game, the Steelers have real problems.
"Larry worked (Thursday in practice); James did not," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "We'll see how they are again (today)."