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Friday, October 19, 2012
Report: Top two backs out for Steelers

By Jamison Hensley

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger practiced without any problems after spraining his ankle on Thursday. But Pittsburgh really should be concerned about his shoulders because there's going to be a lot of weight placed on them Sunday night at Cincinnati.

The Steelers' top two running backs -- Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle) -- didn't practice for a third straight day and won't play against the Bengals, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac.

Jonathan Dwyer would be the likely candidate to replace them and make his first NFL start. Dwyer, a sixth-round pick in 2010, hasn't played the past two games since Mendenhall fully recovered from offseason knee surgery. His last game was in Oakland, where he fumbled at the Steelers' 31-yard line in the second quarter with the game tied at 14-14. In 11 career games, Dwyer has gained 221 yards rushing and has averaged 4.5 yards per carry. The other healthy backs for the Steelers are Chris Rainey and Baron Batch.

Being without the Steelers' top two runners shouldn't make much of a difference for Roethlisberger or the Steelers' offense. The Steelers are averaging 74.8 yards rushing per game, which is second-worst in the NFL.

While this is just the latest injury hit, the Steelers are still holding out hope that center Maurkice Pouncey will play. Pittsburgh is already without its starting right guard (David DeCastro) and right tackle (Marcus Gilbert).