Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a significant throwing-related injury at the worst possible time — just when his team prepares to play the rival Baltimore Ravens twice in three weeks with the AFC North division lead at stake.
Roethlisberger, off to one of the best starts of his nine-year career, dislocated his sternoclavicular joint — which connects the sternum to the collarbone — on Monday night during the Steelers' 16-13 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The injury, in its mildest form, adversely affects a quarterback's throwing motion, is extremely painful and can sideline a player for three to six weeks. Roethlisberger, who underwent MRI exams after the game and again Tuesday, also is being checked for a possible rib injury.
“You tend to know a lot more after four to five days,” said Dr. David Geier, an orthopedist and the director of sports medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. “You see how long it takes the pain to settle down, and you'll probably have him do nothing for a few days to get it to calm down.”
The Steelers are 0-4 against the Ravens when Roethlisberger doesn't play.
Byron Leftwich, who finished the Chiefs game but has never started in four seasons with the Steelers (6-3), is expected to start against the Ravens (7-2) on Sunday night at Heinz Field. The teams play again Dec. 2 in Baltimore; the Ravens swept the Steelers last season to take the division.
“We just focus on the healthy guys,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “We're not looking to make excuses. Excuses are the tools of the incompetent.”
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