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Rashard Mendenhall says he'll play for Steelers in 2012

Injuries are often about timing. Rashard Mendenhall's torn anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 1 has made Mendenhall's status for 2012 an open question in Pittsburgh all offseason.

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There have been reports that suggested the Steelers aren't counting on Mendenhall to play, especially early in the year. Mendenhall said Wednesday that he fully expects to play in 2012 and he's not ruling out a Week 1 return.

"They never said a time. With a knee, it can take anywhere from six to 12 months, so everybody's time frame is different," Mendenhall said, via the team's website. "I'll be back at some point. It's just a matter of what point that is."

We're a little surprised the Steelers didn't work on their running back depth much this offseason, but that speaks to the confidence they have in backup Isaac Redman. Jonathan Dwyer and rookie fifth-round pick Chris Rainey are all that's behind Redman.

It would be a surprise to see Mendenhall ready for the opener. The Steelers might play it safe and put him on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list to start the year, which would knock him out for the first six weeks of the season.

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