It looks like Rashard Mendenhall will be back running for the Steelers in their showdown with the Ravens on Sunday.
(US Presswire)

The Steelers won't have their franchise quarterback for their nationally televised AFC North showdown with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. But it appears they'll at least get back the player who's supposed to be their franchise running back.

RB Rashard Mendenhall practiced fully for the second consecutive day Thursday. As always, he revealed little when interviewed after. But the fact he's made it through two full practices in a row does all the talking needed for those wondering if Mendenhall will play for the first time in more than a month.

"Just that I can return to a full practice (is a good sign)," is the best of what Mendenhall would say. "I haven't been getting fatigued yet in pads, and I want to continue to build up that and continue working the rest of this week."

Backup RB Isaac Redman let it slip to the media this week that he expects Mendenhall, who has missed the past four games with an Achilles injury, to start. When Friday's official doubtful/questionable/probable injury report is released by the Steelers, expect Mendenhall to be listed as probable. And expect him to play against the Ravens.

Others OK: As expected, OT Max Starks, CB Ike Taylor and DE Brett Keisel returned to full practice Thursday. Each of the three starters did not practice (or in Taylor's case, was limited) Wednesday but all are fine and will play Sunday.

FS Ryan Clark also fully practiced three days after suffering his second concussion in 16 days. Assuming he feels no ill effects in the next 48 hours, Clark will play against the Ravens.

CB Curtis Brown (quadriceps) and LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring) also practiced fully Thursday.

Carter to IR: LB Chris Carter maintained that it was "a real positive season for me." Unfortunately, that season is over.

Carter faced a four-to-six week timetable for recovery from an abdominal injury suffered in the win over the Chiefs. With only seven weeks left in the season, the Steelers elected to clear a roster spot by placing Carter on injured reserve.

"I understand it," Carter said. "That's just part of the sport. You've just got to live with it, move on and try to get ready for next year."

A fifth-round pick of the Steelers last season, Carter made the first three starts of his NFL career to open this season when LBs James Harrison and Jason Worilds were injured.

Carter played well, but he was no Harrison. For the season, Carter had solo tackles, five assisted tackles, a pass defended and no sacks.

"It's a real positive year for me," Carter said. "Stuff to build on, so I just look at it that way. I'm definitely still going to be 100 percent part of my team and everything. The guys here are fighting for a Super Bowl, everybody here is, and that's the No. 1 goal regardless of what roster moves are made."

LB Marshall McFadden was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster to take Carter's place. TE Jamie McCoy was re-signed to the practice squad.

Carter will remain with the team, rehab at the team facility and attend meetings. Even when he returns to full health, he will be prohibited from practicing or playing.

Follow Steelers reporter Chris Adamski on Twitter @CBSSteelers and @BuzzsawPGH.