Ben Roethlisberger Suffers High-Ankle Sprain: How Long Can This Go On?

Brendan O'HareContributor IDecember 10, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 08:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers has his left ankle taped up following his return in the second half against the Cleveland Browns during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Roethlisberger was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

As much as I don’t want to be accused of god-making athletes, I can’t help but marvel at Ben Roethlisberger’s performance on Thursday night, especially after the revelation that he had suffered a high-ankle sprain.

After what looked like Roethlisberger’s leg snapping in two, he returned in the second half to throw for 178 yards, a touchdown, and a win. It was an astounding, gritty (a word used to finally describe someone other than David Eckstein) performance and reminded me why I would have no one else play quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The bad news is the injury has been described as “not good” (according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Ben will now spend the remaining days leading up to San Francisco in a walking boot and resting. Although I can’t remember a time where Ben hasn’t been in a walking boot in the past few years, I’m not too worried. Roethlisberger generally plays unless he has suffered an injury that would make a sane man cry and amputate himself, so there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll play.

But how many injuries like this can Ben take? He has always been at the top of the sacked list, a testament to his desire to always make a play last and the Steelers historically awful offensive line. I feel like he is indestructible at times, but I definitely thought he would have to get his leg re-attached on Thursday.

How many more incidents can happen before Ben actually gets seriously hurt?

We know Ben won’t change his style of play and the Steelers will generally refuse to draft an offensive lineman first unless the fans are about to revolt. So where do we go from here? I feel like it’s just a waiting game at this point.

"You have to take him off the field on a stretcher to get him not to play,” Charlie Batch said at the end of Thursday’s game.

He’s probably right. And that worries me.