The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a good position to make the NFL playoffs once again this season, so they are playing it smart by sitting starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his sprained shoulder for the team’s Week 11 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
Fox Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer is reporting on Twitter about Big Ben’s status for Sunday:
Ben Roethlisberger is out this week and Byron Leftwich will get the start. Steelers are not taking any chances w Ben, deciding to sit him— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) November 14, 2012
UPDATE: Wednesday, November 14, 10:10 a.m. ET by Donald Wood
According to the Pittsburgh Steelers website, it is now official that Ben Roethlisberger will not play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and it will be veteran backup Byron Leftwich under center. Despite Leftwich’s lack of NFL success recently, his familiarity with Pittsburgh's offensive schemes makes him a viable threat to minimize turnovers and manage the game efficiently.
---End of Update---
As much as the Pittsburgh organization and fans wanted their star QB to start against their bitter AFC North rivals, this is the best course of action for the long-term health of Roethlisberger and the playoff hopes for the Steelers.
What It Means
Big Ben suffered a sprain to the sternoclavicular (SC) joint in his throwing shoulder, according to the Los Angeles Times. That is the joint that connects the collarbone to the sternum, and it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to heal properly.
While the organization will play it safe this week, there is a serious concern about backup Byron Leftwich and whether or not he will be able to keep the team heading in the right direction.
The Steelers are two games up in the AFC Wild Card chase, but that could easily be lost with a string of losses from Pittsburgh and a hot streak from any of the teams behind them.
The Steelers must get as close to an exact prognosis as possible so they can formulate a true timetable for Roethlisberger’s return to the lineup. While the situation isn't dire now, it will only get worse if Big Ben is forced out for any longer than one week.
With a report from ESPN’s Ed Werder claiming the injury could be even more severe than was first thought, the Steelers and the fans should be legitimately concerned. Big Ben has won too many games on his own over the years for the team to be able to have the same success without him.
Despite all this, Roethlisberger is notorious for his toughness, so fans should expect him to miss Week 11 and not much else.
Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NFL page to get your fill of all things football.