When Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL in the season finale, it created some doubt about whether he’d be able to get back on the field in time to help the team during the 2012 season.
Mendenhall still isn’t sure when he’ll be back, but he’s adamant that he won’t miss the entire season. Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the team is prepared for the possibility that he will have to start the year on the PUP list, but Mendenhall isn’t willing to give up hope that he’ll be on the field for the Sunday night game against the Broncos on September 9th.
“There’s always the possibility,” Mendenhall said. “I’ll be back at some point. It’s just a matter of what point that is.”
Mendenhall said that he has been running and cutting, but that he also still has soreness and swelling in the knee. That makes it difficult to predict what kind of shape Mendenhall will be in when September rolls around. The fact that he’s entering the final year of his contract makes it more likely that Mendenhall will make sure he’s fully ready to play before pushing himself too far too fast.
Isaac Redman will likely take Mendenhall’s place in the starting lineup with Jonathan Dwyer, Baron Batch and rookie Chris Rainey also in the backfield mix.