By Danny Cox
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off of their bye week for the 2012 NFL season, and it was literally just what the doctor ordered. Here was a team that was hurting big time thanks to significant injuries on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Now, they may not have had a lot of injuries, but the significance comes along with the actual players that were banged up.
That list included James Harrison, Troy Polamalu, and Rashard Mendenhall.
Luckily for the Steelers, they had the time off to heal some lingering injuries and let players rest. It surely did come at the right time, and now Pittsburgh is hoping that all injuries are healed enough and these returning players will be strong against the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend.
Pittsburgh actually has all players listed as “Probable” or better this week, and that is news which is music to the ears of all Steelers‘ fans. Friday’s practice saw full participation from all players including the three listed above.
Only one other Pittsburgh Steeler actually made it onto this week’s NFL injury report, and that is offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert. He is suffering from a bit of a groin injury, but he also participated fully in Friday’s practice and will be on the field this Sunday.
Polamalu and Harrison’s returns are huge for the Steelers as the Eagles do have a lot of weapons on offense, and being without two of their defensive leaders could have been crucial. With Michael Vick and his elusiveness, Harrison being up front again is sure to contain him somewhat.
Harrison had been dealing with a right knee problem that required surgery. Polamalu had a strained right calf that was more bothersome than serious.
One return that will be even more important to the Steelers though is that of Rashard Mendenhall. The Steelers rushing game has been almost completely nonexistent this season with Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer so Mendenhall back on the field will bring a big boost to their ground attack.
To put matters into perspective, Redman is leading the Steelers in rushing this season with 72 yards. Dwyer is their second leading rusher with only 70 yards.
Mendenhall has been out since suffering an ACL injury in week 17 of last season, and this Sunday is expected to be his debut. Fantasy owners may want a week to play him though so they can see how he holds up in his first action of the year, but his return is going to at least help the Steelers as a whole.
Pittsburgh Steelers Injury Report:
- OT Marcus Gilbert – Groin
- LB James Harrison – Knee
- RB Rashard Mendenhall – Knee
- S Troy Polamalu - Calf
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.