Mendenhall tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against the Cleveland Browns during Week 17 of the 2011 regular season and sat on the Steelers' physically unable to perform list for most of the preseason. He was removed from the PUP list on Aug. 17, 2012, but did not participate in any of the Steelers' preseason games.
While it's still unlikely that Mendenhall will play Sunday, the Broncos struggled to contain his backup, Isaac Redman, in Denver's thrilling 29-23 overtime win over the Steelers in the teams' AFC wild-card playoff game last season. Redman rushed for 121 yards on 17 carries in the loss.
Denver's run defense will be put to the test early and often by the Steelers' new running attack under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley. The Broncos pass rush is potent enough to inspire confidence in their ability to stop the Steelers' passing attack, meaning much of the outcome of this game could come down to Denver's ability to stop Pittsburgh on the ground.