Roethlisberger likely to play against Ravens
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to play Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens, even though he got knocked out of the Steelers' 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
A source close to the situation said Roethlisberger did well in a series of neurological tests Monday. Roethlisberger has sustained two football-related concussions since October 2006. He also suffered serious head and facial injuries in a motorcycle crash in June 2006.
Coach Mike Tomlin said after the game that Roethlisberger had a "concussion-oriented" injury caused when Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson banged his knee off the sixth-year veteran's helmet.
The source said Roethlisberger did well when he took the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (IMPACT), which is used to determine the severity of head injuries in the NFL.
Scores from IMPACT are measured against baseline tallies established before the season. Players with head injuries usually pass the IMPACT exams several times before they are cleared to play again.
The Steelers did not immediately comment on Roethlisberger's status. Tomlin is expected to address it today at his weekly news conference.
Roethlisberger's status took on added significance because backup quarterback Charlie Batch injured his left wrist while subbing for the injured Roethlisberger in overtime. Batch, who could be lost for the rest of the season, was fitted for a cast in Kansas City. He is expected to miss up to six weeks.
Batch was injured when he landed awkwardly on his wrist after throwing a pass.
With Batch sidelined, second-year man Dennis Dixon is the Steelers' only healthy backup quarterback.
The injury to Batch, who missed all of last season with a broken collarbone, fueled speculation that the Steelers would bring in another quarterback to take his spot on the 53-man roster.
As of last night, the Steelers had not made serious inquiries about Jeff Garcia or Cleo Lemon, two veteran quarterbacks who are free agents. They had also yet to contact Tyler Palko, a former West Allegheny High and Pitt star who has been working out in Pittsburgh and is hoping to get another shot in the NFL.
Dixon, a fifth-round draft pick out of Oregon in 2008, had been a Heisman Trophy front-runner in 2007 until a knee injury ended his season. The Steelers coveted him because of his potential as a pocket passer as well as his running ability.
Dixon has thrown just one NFL pass, and he completed it for 3 yards.
That came last Dec. 28 when he relieved Byron Leftwich in the Steelers' 31-0 win over the Browns. Leftwich had taken over for Roethlisberger after the latter got knocked out of the game with a concussion.