Up until today, there was a chance Big Ben would be able to play the important AFC North game against their elite rival.
According to reports (via ESPN), the Steelers were basing the idea of him playing largely on his ability to throw with a sprained SC (Sternoclavicular) joint. The SC joint has a large impact on the throwing motion as it connects the breastbone to the collarbone.
If Roethlisberger had been able to accurately execute the throwing motion, he might be playing this week. To protect his ribs and heart, he would wear extra padding for precautionary measures, including a layer of Kevlar. The pain apparently wasn’t a large factor in the decision to keep him out another week.
He did have a limited practice on Thursday, lightly throwing the football. But the team is continuing to practice today as if Charlie Batch will make his second consecutive start.
Batch posted 199 yards on 20/34 pass attempts in a 20-14 loss against Cleveland last week.
The impact of Big Ben not playing has been clearly evident in the Steelers' play the last two games. After recording a 6-3 record before Roethlisberger was injured, the Steelers face the likely possibility of falling to 6-6 on the season. That’s barring a miracle win over Baltimore this Sunday.
The Bengals are playing well right now, which doesn’t bode well for Pittsburgh’s wild-card chances, even once they get Ben back. At potentially 6-6, they would likely need to win out through the last four games. It’s a possibility, but who’s to say Ben would actually be playing fully healthy? This type of injury normally takes at least 4-6 weeks to heal, and the pressure Roesthlisberger will be putting on it through play will likely lengthen the repairing process.
We all know Ben Roesthlisberger is tough. But sometimes, it comes down to doing the smart thing. He’ll want to get on the field as soon as possible, so we’ll be watching for more news in the next week.