Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall strained his Achilles Thursday night in the loss to the Tennessee Titans, but he said Monday after practice that he plans on being ready Sunday night when the team faces the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I’m planning on being able to play,” Mendenhall said. “It’s a little tight. We’re just kind of working through it this week. I’m just taking it day-by-day. It’s not something I’m worried about too much.”
Mendenhall has 74 yards rushing on 19 carries since returning from a torn ACL suffered in the regular season finale last year, but only had 6 yards on 6 carries Thursday night before his Achilles tightened up on him in Nashville.
The Steelers running game struggled as a team in the Thursday night loss after having rushed for 123 yards the week before in the win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Not only did the Steelers lose Mendenhall during the Titans game to injury, they also lost backup Isaac Redman as well, as he left the game with an injured ankle. There hasn\’t been much reported about his status since after the game, but Mendenhall did say on Monday that the two of them are working hard to get ready for Sunday night, although he offered no guarantees that both of them would be ready.
“I know we’re both trying to get back,” said Mendenhall. “We’ll be day-to-day. Come Sunday night we’ll know for sure.”
The Bengals run defense has been mediocre through their first six games as they have allowed an average of 116.8 yards per game on the ground thus far for a 4.2 yards per carry average. They also have surrendered 8 rushing touchdowns so far this season.
If either Mendenhall or Redman cant go Sunday night, Jonathan Dwyer will most likely get a helmet. Dwyer has been inactive for the last two games and has not touched the football since he fumbled in the loss to the Oakland Raiders back in week 3.
“It’s just been a numbers game,” Dwyer said Monday after practice. “I don’t play as much special teams as the other guys. I am just preparing for it and am excited to get the opportunity. I just have to do what I have been doing, I try to make some type of play to get the team going and do whatever I can to help us get the win.”
The Steelers certainly do need to get a win Sunday night on the road as a loss to the Bengals would be their fourth of the season and leave them 0-1 in the division.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will meet the media on Tuesday for his weekly press conference and hopefully he will shed a little more light on if both Mendenhall and Redman will practice fully on Wednesday.