UPDATE: According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mendenhall and Redman won't play this weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals. Gerry Dulac writes that Jonathan Dwyer will get the start.
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall made his much-anticipated season debut against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Five after months of rehabilitation following an ACL tear against the Cleveland Browns during the 2011 regular season finale. Throughout Pittsburgh's win on Oct. 1, Mendenhall posted 68 yards rushing on 13 carries and 101 yards from scrimmage with a receiving touchdown against the Eagles, generating increasing hope that he'd help turn Pittsburgh's rushing offense around.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who prompted a mini-scare after rolling his ankle during Thursday's practice, said after the game that "our savior is back."
"He looked great. I don't know if he feels good, but I'm sure he does. We just hope he made it out of this game without any more injury."
He did. That game. The following week Mendenhall carried the football six times against the Tennessee Titans before exiting the game with an unrelated Achilles injury in the third quarter. And it doesn't appear that he'll be available this Sunday, after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
Isaac Redman stepped into the starting role during Pittsburgh's first three games against the Broncos, Jets and Raiders. Currently Redman has generated such a low yard/rush average (2.5), BenJarvus Green-Ellis appears like the proverbial homerun hitter. Yet Redman suffered an ankle injury in the same game against Tennessee and has sat during practice on Wednesday and Thursday as well.
If neither Mendenhall nor Redman can go, the position would likely be a rotation of Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch, writes Neal Coolong with Behind the Steel Curtain.
Pittsburgh also suffered two key injuries on the offensive line against the Titans. Starting center Maurkice Pouncy left the game with an apparent knee injury, sat on Wednesday but returned in limited fashion on Thursday and offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) isn't expected to play against the Bengals this weekend.