Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is dealing with an Achilles problem and is questionable to return in the second half of Pittsburgh's Thursday night game against the Titans. Mendenhall was mysteriously absent from the Steeler offense in the third quarter and was on the sideline with his helmet off. Alex Flanagan of NFL Network reported shortly thereafter that the fourth-year back from Illinois was dealing with an Achilles issue.
Thursday was just the second game back for Mendenhall, who tore his ACL on Jan. 1 at the end of last season. He missed the first three weeks in September, and the Pittsburgh rushing attack suffered badly. The Steelers were among the three worst rushing offenses in the league. Mendenhall provided an instant boost in his first game back last week, averaging more than five yards per carry against the Eagles. Mendenhall has just six yards on six carries Thursday against the Titans.
The loss adds another blow to a depleted Pittsburgh backfield. Isaac Redman was shaken up in the third quarter after he took a direct blow to his right knee. He was limping on the sideline and Baron Batch, not Mendenhall, came on to replace him. The Pittsburgh special teams captain made an instant impact, however, scoring the Steelers second touchdown of the night for a 20-16 lead in the fourth quarter.