Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall tore his right ACL on January 1 and underwent surgery two weeks later.
Steelers defensive tackle Casey Hampton joined Mendenhall in the ACL-tear club one week later and had his left knee ligament reconstructed on January 27.
While both players have expressed optimism about their availability for the 2012 season, Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he anticipates Hampton and Mendenhall beginning the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
“My guess is they’ll open the season on PUP,” Colbert stated. “You’ve got to remember, both of those injuries happened late in the year.”
Once a player is placed on the regular season PUP list, he becomes ineligible to play in the first six games. The Steelers’ 2012 bye is in Week Four, so Mendenhall and Hampton wouldn’t be able to see game action until Week Eight.
Isaac Redman looks poised to enter the season as Pittsburgh’s primary tailback. Steve McLendon and rookie Alameda Ta’amu will be counted on to replace Hampton.