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Leftwich's injuries mean Batch will likely start

| Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, 5:18 p.m.
Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich grimaces in pain after being sacked by Ravens defender James Ihedigbo during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field Sunday, November 12, 2012. The ravens defeated the Steelers 13-10. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
Steelers quarter Byron Leftwich gets up slow after a fourth quarter hit by the Ravens' James Ihedighbo at Heinz Field Nov. 18, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Christopher Horner
Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich reacts after taking a hit during the fourth quarter against Baltimore Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 at Heinz Field. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich broke two ribs and injured a shoulder during his first start since 2009, meaning No. 3 quarterback Charlie Batch almost certainly will start Sunday in Cleveland.

Leftwich told the Tribune-Review on Monday that he injured his ribs and the shoulder during the Steelers' 13-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night at Heinz Field.

An MRI test taken shortly thereafter revealed the broken ribs, according to a source close to Leftwich.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin initially shrugged off the injury, saying, “He sustained some hits, but that's football.”

Leftwich is expected to be out indefinitely, as is starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who will miss a second straight game with a dislocated upper rib and an upper chest/shoulder injury that occurred during the Steelers' 16-13 overtime win over the Chiefs last Monday.

The Steelers are holding out hope Roethlisberger might be able to return for the Ravens rematch Dec. 2 in Baltimore, but doctors have estimated that the Steelers star will be out three to six weeks.

Batch would be the Steelers' third starting quarterback in three games.

The team did not have any immediate comment about the latest Leftwich injury.

Leftwich's rib injury occurred when he was sacked by Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger for a 7-yard loss and on a third-and-10 play during the Steelers' third possession. Shortly before that, Leftwich apparently injured his shoulder landing hard in the end zone to complete his 31-yard touchdown run less than a minute into the game.

Batch, 5-2 as a starter for the Steelers, last played when he filled in for Roethlisberger to beat the St. Louis Rams, 27-0, on Dec. 24. Batch went 15 of 22 for 208 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and a 68.2 rating.

He also beat Tampa Bay and lost to Baltimore as starter while filling in during Roethlisberger's four-game suspension to start the 2010 season.

Leftwich's latest injury continues a trouble-prone career for the No. 7 pick in the 2003 NFL draft.

He missed the second half of the 2009 season with Tampa Bay because of an arm injury. He was expected to replace Roethlisberger to start the 2010 season, only to injure a knee in the final preseason game. In 2011, he was lost for the season when he broke his left arm in a preseason game against the Falcons.

The Steelers will need to add a backup quarterback for Sunday. Jerrod Johnson, the former Texas A&M quarterback who was with them during training camp, is a possibility.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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