Ben Roethlisberger was forced to leave the Pittsburgh Steelers' Monday Night Football game against the Kansas City Chiefs due to a shoulder injury.
Byron Leftwich was forced into action in place of Roethlisberger, and there will undoubtedly be ramifications for both the Steelers and fantasy football owners moving forward.
Let's examine what the injury means for both:
For Fantasy Owners
Ben Roethlisberger is somewhat of a double-edged sword as far as fantasy football is concerned. He produces consistent numbers and rarely has bad seasons, but he also misses games seemingly every year.
In fact, Roethlisberger has missed at least one game in all but one season during his nine-year NFL career.
He is never out long, so owners should be content to watch this injury closely and leave Roethlisberger on the bench for a week or two should it prove to be serious. There is no reason to drop him at this point in the season or make some last ditch effort to trade him.
Obviously, picking up Leftwich in Roethlisberger's absence is a poor idea. Signal-callers like Carson Palmer and Russell Wilson are available in most leagues and provide better alternatives for a spot start.
The Steelers have an extremely favorable schedule the rest of the way, and Roethlisberger should have plenty of big games ahead of him if he proves healthy.
For the Steelers
Pittsburgh has been through situations like this with Roethlisberger before and always emerges okay on the other side.
Leftwich is not an exciting backup option, but he is competent and knows Pittsburgh's offense. Pittsburgh has been utilizing the rushing game with increasing frequency as this season wears on, and an injured Roethlisberger will only mean a heavier dose of Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer.
Both of those RBs will be of paramount importance in three straight division matchups in the coming weeks.
Losing Roethlisberger for any period of time will be felt by the Steelers, but perhaps not as badly as some would expect. This is an organization that can overcome the short-term loss of any one player, even the QB.
However, any type of long-term absence would kill Pittsburgh's hopes of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.