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Steelers rookie RB Batch tears ACL, season likely over

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By Ralph N. Paulk and Scott Brown
Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011

Steelers rookie running back Baron Batch confirmed late Wednesday that he tore his left ACL during practice at St. Vincent College, likely ending his season.

"Friday I was supposed to play my first NFL game. That won't happen. Today I tore my ACL," Batch wrote on his blog. "I'm not sure why I'm writing about this right now except for the fact that God put it on my heart to do so."

Steelers medical staff carted a near-tearful Batch off the field after he pulled up at the end of a run near the end of practice. The injury appeared serious, and Batch was in obvious pain. A popping sound could be heard, and he immediately waved over the Steelers' trainers.

Team officials did not say how severely Batch was injured. Batch was expected to have an MRI exam Wednesday night.

"I probably should be devastated at the fact I won't play my rookie season but… I'm not," Batch wrote on his blog. "After my season ending injury my freshman year of college I promised myself that I would never ask God 'why?' again and I'm not about to start now. It's during the tough times that we are able to grow. I'm excited to hit another growth spurt."

Batch, a seventh-round draft pick out of Texas Tech, was expected to see considerable playing time in Friday night's exhibition opener against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

The injury happened on turf field the Steelers have been relegated to this week because the regular fields are too wet to practice on.

"It was a very small crease he got through, and he got through quick," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "You never like to see anyone go down. We're family, so I went down to check and see how he was doing.

"I feel terrible. It's a dangerous thing, but from where we were standing it didn't look as if anyone hit him. We'll just see what happens."

Batch, 23, appeared on his way to competing for a roster spot as a backup to Rashard Mendenhall. He vaulted into the spotlight during the backs-on-backers drill during the first week of camp. He positioned himself to battle for preseason playing time along with veterans Mewelde Moore and Isaac Redman, and undrafted free-agent John Clay.

"I told him to stay up," Mendenhall said. "It's early in the preseason, but he's done well with his opportunities. I think he needed a game situation to really show what he can do."

The Steelers have had several injuries this season. At least seven players — including cornerback Bryant McFadden and guard Chris Kemoeatu — will not play against the Redskins.

"It's the ebbs and flows of training camp," nose tackle Chris Hoke said. "These guys are getting banged up all the time, and their muscles are getting fatigued. We're hoping (Batch) doesn't have a serious injury."

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