Isaac Redman back for Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall isn’t

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Things are coming into a bit more focus in terms of the health of the Steelers backfield heading into Sunday’s game against the Redskins.

For starters, it looks like they’re going to be leaning heavily on Jonathan Dwyer again. Rashard Mendenhall missed practice again with the Achilles injury that forced him to miss last week’s game against the Bengals and his chances of getting well enough to play in Week Eight aren’t looking all that good. They didn’t miss him all that much — Dwyer had 122 yards and Chris Rainey scored a touchdown — so they’ll likely be giving Mendenhall all the time he needs to get well.

The chances that Isaac Redman will be able to give Dwyer and Rainey a little help are looking a little better. Redman’s ankle felt well enough to allow him to be a limited participant in practice for the team on Thursday, an improvement from his bystander status on Wednesday and a step in the right direction in terms of his ultimate return to the field.

If Redman does play, he’ll have center Maurkice Pouncey blocking for him. Pouncey was ruled in by Mike Tomlin earlier this week and there was no change in that status after a day of practice.

“I feel really good,” Pouncey said, via the team website. “I came in this morning with not that much pain at all. I feel good today. It’s really, really positive. I am definitely playing this week.”

The earliest we’re likely to get anything so definitive about the Steelers backs is Friday.