Roethlisberger Has Sprained Throwing Shoulder; Look for Leftwich to Get the Start Sunday Night

For now the Steelers had better get ready to see Byron Leftwich under center, as no matter how you put it, Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t sound like a QB that is ready to play.

The official news on Big Ben is he has a “sprained right shoulder”, and coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he is “questionable” for the huge game Sunday night vs the Ravens at home.

Roethlisberger was hurt in the 3rd quarter of the Steelers sweat it out win over the Chiefs in OT Monday night 16-13. He was slammed into the ground in the 3rd quarter by Chiefs linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.

”He is being evaluated,” Tomlin said. ”Obviously this injury puts his participation in the questionable category for this week.”

Roethlisberger left the game and went to the hospital to for an MRI-exam. He underwent more tests on Tuesday to determine the severity of the sprain to the sternoclavicular (SC) joint in his throwing shoulder.

The SC joint connects the collarbone to the sternum. Treatment can range from a few days of rest and ice to as much as 4-6 weeks according to Dr. Victor Khabie, chief of sports medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

”You could tape it, you could do that stuff but the reality is those ligaments just have to heal,” Khabie said. ”If you go throwing, you slow down the healing process.”

Roethlisberger was scrambling in the pocket to buy time on Pittsburgh’s first possession of the second half when Houston wrapped up Roethlisberger’s legs and Hali slammed into him, driving the quarterback’s right side into the damp Heinz Field turf.

The franchise QB didn’t appear to be hurt walking off the field but quickly made his way to the locker room before leaving the stadium with the game still in progress.

”It didn’t seem like a tough hit … but he came to the sideline and next thing you know he was gone,” Pittsburgh left tackle Max Starks said. ”I’m hoping it was nothing serious. Honestly it didn’t seem like it.”

Leftwich in the game went 7-for-14 for 73 yards, and got the team in position thanks to a couple dumb Chiefs penalties for a field goal that put them up 13-10.

While Leftwich will start the week taking first string snaps for the Steelers, taking on the Ravens isn’t going to be easy Sunday night, and it’s a game the Steelers have to win as a loss would all but kill their chances of winning the division with 6 games left and down two games in the AFC North.

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3 Responses to “Roethlisberger Has Sprained Throwing Shoulder; Look for Leftwich to Get the Start Sunday Night”

  1. DrGeorge says:

    According to the Post-Gazette, Ben R. has more than an SC dislocation; he has also dislocated a rib near the aorta. The latter would be potentially life-threatening if the rib punctured the aorta. It sounds like he will be out for an extended period of time — estimates range from 4-6 weeks. Medically, he should not play until both injuries are healed.

    Incidentally, on other blog sites, fans besides me are wondering if the Steelers might bring back rookie QB Jerrod Johnson. As fragile as Leftwich and C. Batch are, JJ would be good insurance at the very least and might prove to be the young QB we can develop for the future. Rumor has him with the Sacramento Lions in the United Football league or with Saskatchewan in the CFL. I could not confirm his current whereabouts, but I’ll bet K. Colbert has his phone number.

    Ben’s injury will once again place a premium on our running game. Unlike Arian’s aerial circus, Haley’s offense can be run effectively by a far less athletic QB than Ben; but to keep defenses honest, we must be able to run the ball on demand. That means the O-line must block as well as they did against the Giants, and Haley must use the run to take the heat off Leftwich. Leftwich has a big arm and reads defenses at least as well as Ben R.; Haley’s offense is ideal for him; but he is immobile and can’t create opportunities with his legs. Haley must design his game plan accordingly.

    Supposedly, Mendenhall will be available to play Sunday, but after his long layoff, how effective can he be? I would expect Redman and Dwyer to carry the load against the Ravens, regardless. But the key to the running game’s effectiveness remains the execution of the O-line. Kugler must have them ready.

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