Will Allen says he is confident of returning to the Pittsburgh Steelers line-up when they face Oakland on Sunday.
The veteran hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury at San Diego in mid-October and was only able to take a limited part in practice on Wednesday.
However, Allen believes time is on his side to prove his availability.
“I’m hoping to play,” he said. “That’s my goal. Hopefully the week goes well and I can just keep getting better as the week goes.
“I just have to get through the week and keep feeling good and then hopefully I’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
The Steelers have lost two of the three games Allen has missed, but they did hold the Patriots (28), Cardinals (13) and Bengals (16) to their lowest points totals of the season.
That has prompted Allen to take heart from his team-mates’ defensive performance in his absence, including his own deputy Rob Golden.
“We were consistent. We played lights out, everybody played well. Rob is a smart player and he can make all the checks and put himself in position to play well. He and Mike (Mitchell) played well and the corners played well.
“It was good for (Golden) to get his feet wet and that’s what we needed. We need great depth in the secondary if a guy goes down. I think they played really well.”
Meanwhile, former Steeler Lynn Swann has praised quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, saying the 33-year-old is a “throwback” to his brilliant Pittsburgh team of the 1970s.
“Ben’s an anomaly, a throwback to those kind of days,” he said in an interview with Steelers.com.
“With Roger Stauback and Fran Tarkenton and guys scrambling about, Ben makes things happen. He’s able to get away from a pass rush and buy more time.”