LaRod Stephens-Howling's return to the practice field provides stability to backfield

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Another preseason with another injured running back corps, LaRod Stephens-Howling's return to practice Monday helps bolster some of those concerns.

The Steelers are a very similar team to the 2012 version at the running back position.

Both teams went precisely one game with a fully healthy backfield.

After the Steelers' preseason-opening loss to the New York Giants, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling would suffer a knee injury that's kept him out of the rest of the preseason to date. Rookie Le'Veon Bell injured his foot after four carries against Washington in the second preseason game. Isaac Redman suffered a stinger in practice, keeping him out of some action.

The bad news is Bell is out for a while, leaving the Steelers with likely preseason rushing champ Jonathan Dwyer and Redman being the top runners heading into the regular season.

Stephens-Howling looks to return as the team's third down back, though. He practiced Monday as the Steelers prepare to take on the Carolina Panthers Thursday in the preseason finale.

Whether the Steelers (0-3) will have Stephens-Howling participating in anything more than a token carry or two in one series remains to be seen, but if it means he's closer to getting on the field in Week 1, it's a good thing.

Stephens-Howling showed a great burst in seven carries against the Giants, and his shiftiness and special teams contributions could provide the Steelers with offensive firepower - something they're not exactly overburdened with at this point in the year.

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