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Is Jonathan Dwyer back in Pittsburgh Steelers' lineup?


Jonathan Dwyer is closing in on his second career start for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The third-year pro returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's session for personal reasons. Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times reports Dwyer will get the nod at running back for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.

Not at Thursday's practice: Rashard Mendenhall, the Steelers' starter, who continues to heal from an Achilles' injury and isn't likely to suit up Sunday. Fellow running back Isaac Redman practiced on a limited basis.

The backfield injuries prevent the Steelers from putting their best lineup on the field, but recent reports suggest the team is enthusiastic about Dwyer's progress. His 122-yard output against the Cincinnati Bengals last week were the most by a Steelers running back in more than a year, and he's less expensive than Mendenhall, who's in the final year of his rookie contract.

Dwyer's emergence gives Pittsburgh options -- and questions to answer -- in the backfield.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.