Rashard Mendenhall will not only miss the entirety of the playoffs, it could be awhile before he returns to the field. ESPN is reporting (via Pro Football Talk) that the Pittsburgh Steelers running back has torn his ACL, which could mean that he misses a significant portion of the 2012 season.
Mendenhall hurt his knee in Sunday's win over the Cleveland Browns. Mendenhall was taken to the locker room on a stretcher and there were immediate fears that the injury was serious. These reports confirm the worst-case scenario.
Mendenhall had suffered through a subpar season in which he gained 928 rushing yards and averaged 4.1 yards per carry. He rushed for more than 100 yards on just two occasions, with one of them coming in Week 16. That sparked hopes that he was hitting his stride just in time for the playoffs.
Instead, the Steelers will turn to running backs Isaac Redman and John Clay. Redman has rushed for 479 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. Clay has just 41 yards in his rookie season.
For more on this injury, be sure to check out Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain.