When Ravens center Gino Gradkowski lines up Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he won't be blocking Steve McLendon.

The Steelers' starting nose tackle was ruled out of the Thanksgiving game by coach Mike Tomlin during his weekly news conference today because of a sprained right ankle.


McLendon got hurt against the Cleveland Browns.

Without McLendon, the Steelers could split up the snaps inside with Al Woods and Hebron Fangupo. Or Ziggy Hood could shift inside to nose tackle.

"We've got decent position flexibility with those guys," Tomlin told Pittsburgh reporters. "The reality is with Steve down we're going to need increased effort and contributions from all of the men."

Pittsburgh special teams standout Curtis Brown, a reserve cornerback, is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered against the Browns.

Meanwhile, the Steelers haven't ruled out outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf) and defensive end Brett Keisel (foot) for Thursday. They've missed the past two games.

"What they're capable of doing tomorrow is going to be significant," Tomlin said. "Obviously their participation and how their body responds to practice participation will be our guide in terms of roles or whether or not we allow those guys to participate at all."


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