Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has missed the last four games with an Achilles injury that he suffered against the Tennessee Titans back in Week, but the reports are looking good that he will be back in the lineup this week as the starter against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night.
Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports via Twitter on Thursday that fellow running back Isaac Redman indicated that it is looking like Mendenhall will indeed start Sunday night at Heinz Field.
The Steelers will be facing a Ravens defense that has allowed an average of 132 yards rushing a game through their first 9 games of the season.
In order for the Steelers to have a chance in this game minus the injured Ben Roethlisberger, they are going to have to be able to run the football effectively in order to take pressure off of backup Byron Leftwich.
The return of Mendenhall will also provide Leftwich a better check down out of the backfield in addition. While Redman and Jonathan Dwyer have filled in nicely at times while Mendenhall has been sidelined, neither have the cutting and breakaway ability in the open field that a healthy Mendenhall does.
Mendenhall will most likely have his snaps closely monitored Sunday night and it would not be a surprise if he winds up getting a series off several times throughout the game.
With Mendenhall now expected to be back, we will get to see if the Steelers choose to dress all five of their running backs for the first time this season. Chris Rainey and Baron Batch are prime special team players, so we might be seeing Redman and Dwyer fighting for one bone this week.