UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 23 at 12:50 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp
Mendenhall is officially listed as "Out" for Sunday's game against the Raiders, according to the NFL.com injury tracker. Fantasy owners should turn to either Isaac Redman or Jonathan Dwyer if they are dead-set on starting a Pittsburgh running back.
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UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 21 at 1:15 p.m. ET by Tim Daniels
John Clayton of ESPN reports Mendenhall will miss Sunday's game vs. the Raiders. There was previously some hope the running back might return in time for the Week 3 game.
Troy Polamalu (calf) and James Harrison (knee) are out for the Steelers. So is RB Rashard Mendenhall.— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) September 21, 2012
It's not a major surprise. The Steelers have a bye next week, so the decision to hold Mendenhall out gives him a couple extra weeks to get back to full strength. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will continue to carry the load in his absence.
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Rashard Mendenhall said it is possible that he can play Sunday against the Raiders. #Steelers— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) September 19, 2012
Mendenhall—who tore his ACL last January—will practice with pads this week for the first time since his surgery, per Jim Wexell of SteelCityInsider.net (via Scout.com).
The Steelers will certainly be glad to have him back whenever he is able to return. Jonathan Dwyer (21 rushes for 71 yards, three receptions for 23 yards) and Isaac Redman (23 rushes for 45 yards and a touchdown, three receptions for 21 yards) have hardly made anyone forget about Mendenhall in his absence.
And while the Steelers have become a much more pass-heavy team in the past few years, it's odd to see them sitting at 30th in the NFL in rushing after two games.
Fantasy owners will be happy to see the (potential) return of Mendenhall as well. From 2009 to 2011, he rushed for 3,309 yards, caught 66 passes for another 582 yards and scored 30 total touchdowns.
A return against the Raiders would be ideal. Last weekend, Oakland allowed Reggie Bush to rush for 172 yards against them. I'm sure the Steelers would like nothing more than to be able to run the ball at will, play solid defense and control the game.
Even if Mendenall plays this week, his usage remains in question. It's possible the Steelers would (wisely) want to limit his touches upon his return.
As always, be sure to keep it here as more updates become available.
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