Ben Roethlisberger Injury: How Are Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall Affected?

Ryan Phillips@@RumorsandRantsContributor IIIOctober 3, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 02: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks at the replay board after turning the ball over on downs against the Houston Texans on October 2, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.Texans won 17 to 10. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was seen on crutches and wearing a walking boot after the team's 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday. Roethlisberger had an X-ray following the game but claimed not to know the results. He will have an MRI Monday to determine the extent of the damage.

The injury is to Big Ben's left foot, not the right foot he broke last season. If you remember, he played through the injury last year, and apparently claims he plans on doing the same thing this year. With Rashard Mendenhall also suffering an injury on Sunday, the Steelers look like they could be in serious trouble.

While it appears Roethlisberger is determined not to miss any time, having an injured foot certainly won't help him or the Steelers turn around what has been a very disappointing start to the season. The defending AFC champs are 2-2, with wins coming over the lowly Seattle Seahawks (1-3) and the horrendous Indianapolis Colts (0-3).

Pittsburgh has had major issues along its offensive line, as the unit has allowed Roethlisberger to be sacked 14 times so far this season. In addition to that, the Steelers' line has failed to open running lanes for Mendenhall, who is averaging just 2.98 yards per carry this year, while the team's rushing attack ranks 20th in the NFL (93.8 yards per game).

I don't see Roethlisberger's injury slowing down his top receiving target much, as Mike Wallace has had an excellent season thus far. The third-year receiver out of Ole Miss has 25 catches for 454 yards and two touchdowns and has emerged as a go-to option for his quarterback.

Meanwhile, I don't think Roethlisberger's injury will hurt Mendenhall's numbers as much as his own hamstring injury and a porous offensive line will. Big Ben will tough out this injury, and while it may hamper his scrambling ability, I don't see him missing time or really altering what Pittsburgh does offensively.

The bigger worry for the Steelers is protecting their franchise quarterback, who has taken a ton of hits so far this season.

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