Jared Gaither, who practiced on a limited basis Wednesday for the first time in 55 days, sat out Thursday's session. The offensive tackle has been bothered by a thoracic disk injury in his back.
Gaither declined to speak to the media prior to practice, but offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said it would be difficult to envision Gaither lining up in Sunday's contest against the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Yeah, I think that'd be asking a lot of anyone," Cameron said Thursday. "It's nice to have him back. I think it's nice to get the feeling like he's back in the mix."
In addition to Gaither, outside linebacker Edgar Jones (thigh) did not participate.
Running back Ray Rice, defensive end Cory Redding and offensive tackle Tony Moll – three players who missed Wednesday's practice – returned to Thursday's session albeit on a limited basis.
Rice, who bruised his right knee in the team's 24-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, wore a red, non-contact mesh over his jersey. Redding, who sustained a concussion in the third quarter against Cleveland, was dressed, carried his helmet, and ran to join the other defensive linemen in positional drills, and Moll, who is dealing with a hip injury, worked with the offensive linemen.
Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson (back) was limited for the second consecutive day, and cornerback Chris Carr (thigh) was added to the report as being limited.
Center Matt Birk (back), right guard Chris Chester (back) and tight end Todd Heap (shoulder) practiced fully for the second straight day. Fullback Le'Ron McClain also wore a red, non-contact jersey, but he was not listed on the injury report.
Only one Steelers starter – right guard Trai Essex (ankle) – did not practice Thursday. A pair of reserves in quarterback Dennis Dixon (knee) and defensive tackle Chris Hoke (knee) didn't practice for the second consecutive day.