Pittsburgh Steelers running backs Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle) have been ruled out of Sunday's night's game at the Cincinnati Bengals, leaving Jonathan Dwyer to make his first career start, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Dwyer has not been active for the past two games, and has averaged just 2.9 yards on 24 carries this season. The third-year player out of Georgia Tech has 49 career carries for 221 yards (4.5-yard average).
Dwyer played in Georgia Tech's triple-option offense, but fell to the sixth round in 2010 despite a prolific career with the Yellow Jackets. His longest carry in 2012 is 11 yards, and his career average would be 3.0 yards per carry without a 76-yard run last season.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who injured his right foot in practice Thursday, is expected to be fine to play.
He hurt it while dropping back to pass, and left practice early, limping off the field behind Steelers trainer John Norwig. After it was examined, Roethlisberger emerged barefoot and pronounced himself "fine."
It's the same foot that was broken two years ago.
While the Steelers cannot afford to lose their most valuable player, they've lost enough already and wonder how much more they can sustain and remain in contention.
"We've been around football so much that you see teams that look good on paper, but they lose guys to injuries and don't have the season they wanted," said veteran backup quarterback Byron Leftwich.
"Injuries are part of the game but as much as it's a part of it, we've always done a good job here, the next guy up has always been capable to come in and play at a high level for that guy."