Ben Roethlisberger left Heinz Field on Monday night with his sprained right shoulder in a sling. When he walks back in ready to play is anybody’s guess.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin called Pittsburgh’s franchise quarterback “questionable” but otherwise offered little detail Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Roethlisberger was pounded into the ground by Kansas City Chiefs linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston in the third quarter of Pittsburgh’s 16-13 victory in overtime.
“He is being evaluated,” Tomlin said. “Obviously this injury puts his participation in the questionable category for this week.”
Roethlisberger left the game and went to the hospital to for an MRI exam. He underwent more tests on Tuesday to determine the severity of the sprain to the sternoclavicular (SC) joint in his throwing shoulder.
The SC joint connects the collarbone to the sternum. Treatment can range from a few days of rest and ice to as much as 4-6 weeks according to Dr. Victor Khabie, chief of sports medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
“You could tape it, you could do that stuff but the reality is those ligaments just have to heal,” Khabie said. “If you go throwing, you slow down the healing process.”
If Roethlisberger can’t play, the Steelers (6-3) will turn to veteran backup Byron Leftwich, who completed 7 of 14 passes for 73 yards in relief as Pittsburgh won its fourth straight game thanks to Shaun Suisham’s 23-yard field goal 51 seconds into the extra period.
The 32-year-old Leftwich hasn’t started a game since 2009, when he went 0-3 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His last victory came on Oct. 8, 2006 when the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the New York Jets 41-0.
The former first-round pick has spent most of the last six years as a backup while dealing with a series of significant injuries. He missed all of last season after breaking his arm in a preseason game and threw seven regular-season passes in 2010 after hurting his knee at the end of training camp.
Though there was a bit of rust after getting pressed into service, Leftwich did guide the Steelers to a go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter.
The New England Patriots have signed guard Mitch Petrus to shore up their battered offensive line. … The Atlanta Falcons placed tight end Tommy Gallarda on injured reserve and signed wide receiver Tim Toone and tight end Chase Coffman to their active roster. … The Chicago Bears have signed veteran backup quarterback Josh McCown with Jay Cutler’s status for this week uncertain. Cutler sat out the second half of Sunday’s loss to Houston with a concussion. Jason Campbell took over and is expected to start Monday at San Francisco if Cutler can’t go. … Tampa Bay linebacker Quincy Black will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his neck making a tackle. … A grand jury in Houston has dismissed a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge against Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson after hearing from the four-time Pro Bowl running back and other witnesses. … Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said he’s not decided on a starting quarterback for next week’s game against Cincinnati because Brady Quinn has not been cleared following his concussion.