The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to the west coast to take on the Oakland Raiders Sunday afternoon, a place where they haven’t had their greatest success in the past. As they prepare for the game, the Steelers got a dose of bad news, but they could see some good news as well as it relates to injuries.
When they take the field this Sunday, the Steelers likely will have the same look as they did a week ago as it looks as if James Harrison and Troy Polamalu will both be out of the lineup again. As of Thursday, neither has practiced and it has been the policy of Mike Tomlin that if you don’t practice, you don’t play.
With that being said, expect to see both Chris Carter and Ryan Mundy back in the Steelers’ starting lineup against Oakland.
However, while that’s the bad news, there is good news to go along with that in the form of running back Rashard Mendenhall.
Mendenhall began taking contact this week and could see some action against a Raiders team that has allowed an average of 149 yards on the ground through two weeks.
The fifth-year pro out of Illinois looks as if he will finally see some playing time, which, for a run game that currently ranks 30th in the NFL, is a good thing. It also could provide a huge boost for the Steelers against a Raiders team that gave up 172 yards to Reggie Bush last weekend.
Mendenhall noted that he felt normal and natural on the field in doing so and added that a return to action Sunday is a possibility, though he is still taking things “a day at a time” at this point.
There have been conflicting reports on Mendenhall’s status for Sunday, so it’s just a wait and see approach.
With the bye week coming next week, it makes sense for the Steelers to give both Harrison and Polamalu an extra week to get back at full strength.
Perhaps it makes sense to take the same approach with Mendenhall and not rush him back, giving him two more weeks to make sure his surgically repaired knee is indeed at full strength. But he could be rushed back this week considering leading rusher Jonathan Dwyer was held out of practice with turf toe.
In other Steelers injury news, Emmanual Sanders (knee) and Mike Wallace (groin), tight end Heath Miller (abdomen) and offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert (groin) all missed practice on Wednesday.