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Rashard Mendenhall Injury Update: Running Back To 'Practice In Full' Wednesday, Could Return Sunday

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall told reporters Wednesday afternoon he expects to "practice in full," according to Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Should he practice without discomfort for the rest of the week, it seems likely that he will get the starting nod this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Due to a nagging hamstring injury, the Steelers made Mendenhall, their usual starting running back, available only in case of emergency this past Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. In his absence, Pittsburgh took a by-committee approach to the running game, splitting carries between Isaac Redman (15) and Jonathan Dwyer (11).

Mendenhall has struggled in 2011; through four games, he's averaging just three yards per carry and has scored only two touchdowns. While injuries to the Steelers' offensive line have played a role in Mendenhall's poor production, they're not enough to explain away all of his issues.

Jacksonville has lost each of its last four games, but it defends the run at a better-than-average rate, allowing 3.7 yards per carry (No. 8 in the NFL) to opponents and yielding three touchdowns on the ground (No. 9). If healthy enough to play Sunday, Mendenhall surely has his work cut out for him.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.