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Steelers QB Roethlisberger not targeting Oct. 25 return

| Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, 2:57 p.m.

Ben Roethlisberger's rehab is going well and is on schedule, but that doesn't mean the Steelers quarterback will be back for the Oct. 25 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

A CBSSports.com report Monday said Roethlisberger is targeting the Chiefs game — four weeks to the day from when he suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain and a bone bruise to his left leg — for his return after he made positive strides in his rehabilitation process.

Roethlisberger denied the report Tuesday during his weekly radio show on 93.7 FM and said he is sticking to his week-to-week mentality of when he will return.

“I just left (team doctor James) Dr. Bradley, and he said, ‘Where do these reports come from that you're coming back at a certain week?' ” Roethlisberger said. “I'm like, ‘I don't know, Doc. I haven't really heard any of them.' So I assume that's exactly what he was talking about.

“We know that people like to just speculate and say things. So that did not come from me, the Steelers or any of our doctors, more importantly.”

Still, indications are that Roethlisberger is ahead, or at least on track, of the 4-6 week time frame associated with MCL sprains and bone bruises.

Roethlisberger no longer needs crutches, which indicates the bone bruise isn't as severe as it could've been. MCL injuries typically heal within 2-4 weeks, but a bone bruise could tack on an extra couple of weeks.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin didn't provide much clarity during his weekly news conference.

“There is no real update on Ben, although he is progressing well, and everybody is pleased with what they see from him,” Tomlin said.

Roethlisberger was on the sidelines Thursday against the Ravens without the aid of crutches, but he still was limping. He spent a portion of the pregame throwing passes during warm-ups.

However, the pain and instability of the joint still are issues.

“There is still quite a bit of pain where the bones smacked together,” Roethlisberger said. “There is bruising there. The MCL isn't super painful. I can feel it when I walk at times, but the problem is if I walk without a brace. … (When) you kick your leg forward as if you are walking, it feels like your leg is kind of flopping. It is kind of hard to explain what if feels like. The issue with the MCL is keeping it stable. That is why when I am in the brace — it feels pretty good moving it.”

Roethlisberger said last week he will need to wear a brace when he returns. Roethlisberger never has worn one during a game.

Roethlisberger is taking a week-to-week approach regarding his return. He said there has been no timetable placed on when he might be back, and he likes it that way.

“Basically say, ‘I'm out this week, we'll reevaluate it next week and see if and what I can do,' ” Roethlisberger said. “To me, that's the better way and maybe the more optimistic way to look at it. Rather than put a number on it, let's just take it one week at a time.”

Roethlisberger, who is known to return early from injuries, never has missed more than three consecutive games because of injury. When he returns — whether it is after sitting out one game or three — he typically doesn't fare well.

Seven times in his 12-year career Roethlisberger has missed time because of injury. In the seven games after his return, the Steelers are 1-6, and Roethlisberger hasn't typically had good numbers.

The most recent example was Dec. 9, 2012, against the Chargers when Roethlisberger returned from injury to go 22 of 42 for 285 yards and an 87.9 passer rating in a 34-24 loss.

The Steelers will continue to use veteran Mike Vick until Roethlisberger returns. Vick completed 19 of 26 passes for 124 yards in Thursday's 23-20 overtime loss to the Ravens.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is carted to the locker room after getting tripped up in the third quarter against the Rams on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, at Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is carted to the locker room after getting tripped up in the third quarter against the Rams on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, at Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger walks off the field after throwing an interception against the Patriots Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015 at Gillette Stadium.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger walks off the field after throwing an interception against the Patriots Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015 at Gillette Stadium.
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