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AP: b441bd0d-ba07-4742-b151-d4e894bef144
Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells (26) breaks free against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)
The Cardinals needed Beanie Wells to step up this season, and the third-year pro has responded by averaging 4.6 yards per carry and scoring six times.

The Ohio State product has looked every bit the feature back -- when he's been on the field.

Wells, who missed the team's Week 3 game in Seattle, left Sunday's contest with the Steelers in the second quarter with a knee injury. He didn't return, finishing the afternoon with 42 yards on 12 carries.

"Good news on Beanie," head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday, "from the standpoint of his injury looks like it's not a surgical option.

"His knee is stable."

Whisenhunt said Wells took a shot during the game which caused the running back's knee to lock up, which combined with swelling prevented the player's return.

"We'll monitor him this week and see where he is as far as rehab and see where he progresses."

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the process of preparing for the next game with uncertainty surrounding Wells' status is nothing new, though the offense is certainly less effective when he's unavailable.

Even still, Whisenhunt isn't ready to give up on the running game just because Wells isn't playing.

"I'm comfortable with the guys that we've got," the coach said. "I think Alfonso [Smith] has shown that he can do some good things for us. Obviously having LaRod [Stephens- Howling] back 100 percent helps, and then Chester [Taylor] is a lot more comfortable with where we are offensively right now."

Whisenhunt said the team would take a "back by committee" approach for as long as Wells is out, though no one is quite sure how long that will be.

"I'm not going to say I'm not, I'm not going to say I am, but I'm hopeful," Wells said about playing this week.

Whisenhunt said he will not put a time-frame on Wells' return.

"I don't want to set the young man up for failure," Whisenhunt said. "If he gets out there Wednesday and it's a struggle we'll see how it progresses.

"Once again I think it's good because at one point yesterday we thought he might be done for the year."

Arizona Sports' Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this report

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