LB LaMarr Woodley is a man of few words when it comes to his left ankle. The ones he will offer, though, are positive.

Woodley, who has missed the past two-plus game since injuring his ankle in Cleveland, returned to practice this week and has been a full participant both Wednesday and Thursday.

How do you feel, LaMarr?

"Great. Feeling good. Same as yesterday."

The response, clipped as it may be, is positive because there were concerns about how the ankle would respond after going through a practice.

There has been speculation that Woodley will have a "pitch count" when he returns to game action. Similar to how the Steelers are using S Troy Polamalu, Woodley's snaps could be limited against the Cowboys.

Always a good soldier when it comes to edicts from coach Mike Tomlin about keeping information from the media, Woodley only smiled when asked if he was going to be under such a snaps-limiting arrangement.

"Guess you've got to see on Sunday," he said. "I don't know. Can't tell you til Sunday. Can't show you til Sunday."

Young CBs prep for more action: While starting CB Keenan Lewis (hip) returned to full practice and declared "I will be ready to go Sunday," an already-depleted secondary got bad news when CB Cortez Allen was not able to practice due to his groin/hip ailment.

If Allen can't play, that likely means CB Curtis Brown will start -- and the trickle down effect will lead to significant playing time for CB Josh Victorian and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke.

"It's always good to put your hand in the pile, as coach Tomlin always says," Van Dyke said. "Go out and make plays and help my team win this game, do what (defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau) and coach Tomlin want me to do, that's all I can do."

Van Dyke was coveted by the Steelers at the 2011 draft -- "I thought I was coming here," Van Dyke said, referring to the multiple meetings he had with Tomlin before the draft -- but the Oakland Raiders took Van Dyke in the third round before the Steelers could snatch him up.

Pittsburgh turned to Brown (95th overall) and Allen (128th) but got another chance when the Raiders waived Van Dyke before the start of this regular season, despite the fact that he started four games for Oakland last season.

Van Dyke was active for the first six games of the season but played exclusively on special teams. He was inactive for five of the next six games before playing again this past Sunday in a loss to San Diego.

Victorian's path to playing time has been even more wrought with roadblocks. Since the 2011 draft, Victorian was on three different teams in the first 16 months since before ending up on the Steelers practice squad in September. He remained on it all year until being released Nov. 28. He was re-signed to the practice squad six days later and added to the 53-man roster this past Saturday.

Victorian was activated Sunday -- and pressed into action after Tomlin benched Brown. Unemployed less than two weeks ago, it's within the realm of possibility that Victorian could start Sunday in Dallas. More likely, he will be the nickelback -- but Tomlin has proven to have a short leash with Brown.

"That's definitely a big step, going from practice to Sundays," Victorian said. "It's a whole lot different. I was excited and humbled for the opportunity. But I think I was ready."

The Steelers better hope he's ready again this Sunday.

Other practice news: WR Emmanuel Sanders (shoulder) returned to practice Thursday and will play Sunday. LB James Harrison missed the workout for the second consecutive day, but it was due to illness and therefore not considered a threat to limit him in Dallas.

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