Mensah, who stormed down the tunnel after being substituted late on in last Saturday's 3-1 defeat at home to Wolves, is thought to have been left out of the match-day 18 by manager Steve Bruce purely because of Anton Ferdinand's fitness.
Ferdinand has been included at the heart of the defence alongside Nedum Onuoha at Upton Park, where not even a West Ham will will save the Hammers from relegation to the Championship.
Mensah's compatriot Asamoah Gyan does make a return to the starting line-up. The Ghanaian striker will play up front, with Stephane Sessegnon behind him, after shrugging off a hamstring problem.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-1-1): Mignolet; Elmohamady, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Bardsley; Malbranque, Henderson, Colback, Zenden; Sessegnon; Gyan. Subs: Carson (gk), Cook, Knott, Adams, Lynch, Riveros, Noble.
WEST HAM UNITED (4-3-3): Green; Spence, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Bridge; Collison, Hitzlsperger, Boa Morte; Hines, Piquionne, Sears. Subs: Boffin (gk), Parker, Kovac, Stanislas, Obinna, Jacobsen, Tombides.