In reviewing twitter this week, there was an interesting tweet from an unlikely source, Rashard Mendenhall, concerning his recovery from his torn ACL. The message was simple and short, as he tweeted that his torn ACL “has healed wonderfully…” For Pittsburgh Steelers fans, this should be a message met with optimism.ACL have been a hot topic amongst fans and front office alike with differing opinions and statements coming out. If this is true, the speed of his recovery is somewhat of a surprise. Especially when it is compared to running back Baron Batch, who tore his ACL during training camp in 2011, and was not fully cleared in May, some 10-months after the injury.
For Mendenhall, it has only been a little over six months since he suffered the tear on January 1, 2012 in the season finale against the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers have been preparing for him to open the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and miss at least the first eight weeks of the season. Yet, he is optimistic he can be ready to go sooner than later.
One has to wonder if this optimism is a true outlook of his health and availability or if his future contract situation has something to do with it. In looking at it closely, with Mendenhall entering the final year of his rookie contract, this injury could not come at a worse time for contractual reasons, especially if his understudies in Pittsburgh come in and perform at a high level. With those two factors in place, it is clear that the Steelers should move carefully with this situation as camp approaches. If he rushes back, he may not be even remotely close to the football player he was and that could spell bad news for both he and the Steelers moving forward.
One thing is certain, all of this banter will be completed once training camp opens in a couple of weeks. If he is healthy and medically cleared by the training staff, he could definitely add something to the new Steelers offense, as he is the most physically versatile back in the stable. On the other side, if he is not 100 percent healthy, the team must have him on the PUP to open the season.
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