The last time we checked in with running back Baron Batch it looked like he was getting along pretty good in his rehab from the torn ACL that he suffered late in training camp last year. Batch is just roughly nine months removed from surgery now, but Ed Bouchette reports Friday that Batch will not practice with the rookies and first-year players over the weekend, even though he is eligible to do so. Batch apparently has not been cleared to by the medical staff to practice just yet. Keep in mind that training camp almost another three months away right now, so Batch will likely be ready to go by then.
ETA: Batch has posted on Twitter following the Bouchette report that he is not participating because he\’s not required to be out there and not because he is not ready. It is a rookie mini camp, states Batch, and he is not a rookie.
Bouchette speculates that by looking at the Batch timetable, it is another reason to believe that Rashard Mendenhall, who had his ACL surgery in January, might not play this season. Should Mendenhall follow Batch’s schedule, Bouchette points out that he still won’t be ready to go in mid-October. It has been long believed that Mendenhall will open the season on PUP list, which would sideline him for the first six weeks of the season at a minimum, with the latest he could return to the 53 man roster is by week 13.
The Steelers will open training camp with Isaac Redman as the only lock to make the roster. Batch, Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay and rookie Chris Rainey will all battle for spots on the 53 man squad and it would not be surprising to see an experienced free agent signed to the group prior to the start of training camp.