Rashard Mendenhall: Full Wednesday Practice Means RB Is Week 2 Fantasy Play

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent ISeptember 12, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 24:  Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball against the St. Louis Rams during the game on December 24, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Steelers won 27-0.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Horrendous ligament-tearing knee injuries are not what they used to be. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall was a full participant in his team's Wednesday practice after tearing his ACL a little less than 9.5 months ago. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter had the report. 

So it's not just Adrian Peterson: Steelers said RB Rashard Mendenhall was a full participant in today's practice.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 12, 2012

Combine this with Adrian Peterson's strong performance in Week 1 after tearing his knee up a week earlier than Mendenhall last season, and it is pretty clear we all need to reevaluate a running back's ability to return from this kind of injury. 

And in the case of top running backs like this, we shouldn't hesitate to put these guys in our fantasy lineups if they are set to take the field. 

While it is not official that Mendenhall will be on the field while the Steelers host the New York Jets during Week 2, it is an almost certainty after he was a full go at Wednesday's practice. You can monitor his game status at NFL.com.

Mendenhall isn't likely to be 100 percent, but he should be a close approximation to the player that has gained at least 928 yards and scored at least seven touchdowns in each of the last three seasons. 

And 90 percent Mendenhall will be enough to put up strong numbers against a slow Jets defense. 

Lost in the hype of the Jets' impressive Week 1 win is the fact that a defense which once spelled certain fantasy doom for running backs was shredded for 195 yards at 7.5 yards a carry and a touchdown. 

Mendenhall isn't likely to get a 30-carry workload in his first game back, but he should receive 15-to-25 touches, and that will be enough to put up some solid production.