The full lowdown on Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulder and rib injury came into focus today as he spoke to the media about his status. While it may not be as bad as we thought with his shoulder, the dislocated rib is another story, and obviously a great concern as it could be life threatening.
The following was reported today via Twitter by Adam Schefter & Ed Bouchette: Ben Roethlisberger identified the rare and dangerous rib injury: a dislocated first rib that could have pressed against his aorta. The injury is so rare that the last time dr. told him it occurred was with rugby player in 1998.If Ben were to get hit the wrong way, the rib could puncture his heart and kill him.
Ben also said today via NFL.com, that the pain is at a 9 right now on a scale of 10. We all know Ben is more than capable of playing through pain, but when it comes to something that could end his life, pain is hardly the only thing to worry about. He also indicated that there is no official timetable for his return but that he doesn’t think it’s a season ending injury.
Even though Ben nor the Steelers will speculate at this point, rib injuries take normally a minimum of 6 weeks to heal. So doing a little math gives us a possible timetable for his return. Even if Ben is able to go, say in 5 weeks that would put him back around the week 15 game at Dallas. The team would not likely not allow him to return while on the road and on the field turf at Cowboys stadium. The next likely time would then be in week 16 when the Bengals come to Heinz Field; the following week is also at home to end regular season against the Browns.
This is all assuming of course that healing and treatments go as planned and there are no setbacks. Also assuming that the Steelers are still in playoff contention as well. If they were out of the race then bringing him back wouldn’t make much of a difference.
Nothing is for certain, but knowing Ben and how competitive he is, he’ll do everything he can to return as soon as it’s safe; if not try and up the timetable a bit if he can.
The Steelers remaining schedule is as follows:
Week 11: Baltimore
Week 12: @Cleveland
Week 13: @Baltimore
Week 14: San Diego
Week 15: @Dallas
Week 16: Bengals
Week 17: Cleveland
In the meantime though, as long as Leftwich can stay healthy and productive he’ll be the man to pilot Todd Haley’s offense for the foreseeable future.