Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a lot of pressure on him as the leader of one of the most high-profile NFL teams. However, health and safety has to come before the hopes and dreams of a football team and fanbase.
Roethlisberger addressed the media on Tuesday (h/t Baltimore Sun) to address his injury situation, which sounds far more serious than originally believed, saying that a dislocated rib is a bigger issue than his shoulder:
From what I understand, it’s an SC joint and a dislocation of the first rib. That’s really the scary part because I guess if it goes in the wrong direction it can puncture the aorta. That’s more of the issue, I think.
We aren't talking about just a sprained shoulder anymore—we are talking about a potentially life-threatening situation that will require close monitoring in order to ensure that Roethlisberger is completely healthy and able to get hit without fear.
Throughout his career, Roethlisberger has been an almost super-human figure. He has played behind bad offensive lines for a long time, taking hit after hit but always walking away. Even when he has had to miss time with an injury, it never felt as serious as this.
The Steelers aren't going to pressure Roethlisberger to return. According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "It could be a matter of weeks before Roethlisberger returns to play for the Steelers, but any speculation at this point is just that."
Speculation is going to run rampant with Roethlisberger until he does eventually return, but it is not fair to him or the Steelers to expect a quick turnaround. This injury has to be treated like a concussion—slow, and with a battery of tests.
It doesn't matter what the Steelers' record is right now or what it is in three weeks if Roethlisberger hasn't made it back. If he can't play, he can't play. The Steelers are a resilient franchise. They can bounce back without their starting quarterback.
All that matters right now is Roethlisberger's health. He has a good grasp on the situation, but the immediate outlook doesn't sound promising.