Guard David DeCastro has missed 10 games with a knee injury, but he was back in practice Wednesday. (US Presswire)

G David DeCastro had never sustained an injury in his life that kept him out of football activity for as much as a month, so missing the first 10 games of the Steelers season due to a knee injury

has been tough.

"Definitely," DeCastro said in his trademark one-word-answer style when asked if he was getting antsy.

Wednesday, at least, represented some progress. DeCastro was on the practice field for the first time since going down in preseason with a torn MCL in his right knee.

"I'd been doing stuff with just the strength coach, football-related stuff -- but nothing like going against NFL players," DeCastro said. "I feel really good."

Wednesday, DeCastro did mostly individual work but also participated in some team drills. Now that DeCastro has been cleared to practice, the Steelers have 21 days to either activate him to the 53-man roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve.

DeCastro said he had "no idea" if he would be able to return to playing this season and admitted that "tomorrow might feel a little different" in terms of his soreness.

"I didn't really have any expectations," he said of Wednesday's practice. "Just going in to see how it felt, and it felt good, it felt strong."

Hoyer happy to be a Steeler: To QB Brian Hoyer, the tryout is the easy part. Being unemployed might be stressful, but getting an opportunity to audition for a job isn't so much.

"If anything, going out and performing is the easy part," Hoyer said. "You just go out there and throw, and take that as what it is. Let them make the decision. You know once you've gone, thrown and worked out, that it's out of your hands. You've just got to do your own thing and let other people decide."

Coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert and the Steelers' brass decided to take Hoyer over former Eagles QB Mike Kafka. With QB Ben Roethlisberger and QB Byron Leftwich out for Sunday's game, Hoyer is a Charlie Batch injury away from taking the field to lead the Steelers against the Browns.

"People want to talk about backup quarterbacks -- it's a rare job," said Hoyer, who also had worked out for the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants since being cut by the New England Patriots in training camp. "Kind of like being a relief pitcher and always waiting to go in and never knowing when your name is going to get called. I've been in that situation before and you've just got to be ready."

Batch, McFadden back: A day after being released from the 53-man roster to make room for Hoyer and WR Plaxico Burress, RB Baron Batch and LB Marshall McFadden were signed to the Steelers' practice squad.

To make room, the team cut TE Jamie McCoy and OL Ryan Lee.

Injury report: The Steelers' Wednesday practice report was largely what was expected. WR Jerricho Cotchery, QBs Byron Leftwich and Ben Roethlisberger missed practice; S Will Allen, RB Isaac Redman and LB Stevenon Sylvester participated fully. The former all will definitely not play Sunday and the latter all almost assuredly will.

In the "bad news" department, OT Marcus Gilbert and DE Ziggy Hood did not practice, dousing any optimism that might have endured about their statuses. "Good" news? WR Antonio Brown was on the practice field -- albeit in a limited capacity. He has not played in the past two games due to an ankle injury.

Follow Steelers reporter Chris Adamski on Twitter @CBSSteelers and @BuzzsawPGH.