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Steelers' Roethlisberger undergoes minor knee surgery

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 12:54 p.m.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
=Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) drops back to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's right knee discomfort was deemed to be so insignificant, he practiced for more than a week before having clean-up surgery Wednesday.

“Earlier today, Ben had minor surgery on his right knee that was the result of slight discomfort this offseason,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “We advised him to get the surgery done to ensure he will be completely healthy for the start of training camp. This surgery will have no long-term effects on his health.”

Roethlisberger had the procedure only one day after practicing during the seventh day of the Steelers' organized team activity workouts, which conclude Thursday. He had not previously missed any of the spring practices, but he will sit out next week's three-day minicamp.

“Even something mild like that, you want to give yourself as long to recover as possible,” said Dr. David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon. “Guys who have these clean-up operations continue to improve for months. Fortunately there is a decent amount of time (before camp).”

Roethlisberger also had knee surgery to repair cartilage during the Steelers' Super Bowl-winning season of 2005, his second in the NFL, and sat out three games.

Geier said it's not unusual to have multiple cartilage surgeries on the same knee.

“The surgeon goes in there and tries to smooth it out, but it's like a pothole on a road. You can smooth out the pothole, but you can't fill it in,” Geier said.

Roethlisberger missed three games last season with a complicated shoulder and upper-chest injury that affected his throwing even when he returned in December.

With the 31-year-old Roethlisberger temporarily out, backup Bruce Gradkowski will get the bulk of the practice time. The other two quarterbacks in camp are rookie Landry Jones, a fourth-round pick, and John Parker Wilson.

Roethlisberger threw 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season, when his seven victories were the fewest of his nine-season NFL career.

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