Ben Roethlisberger left Heinz Field with his sprained right shoulder in a sling. When he walks back in ready to play is anyone’s guess.
Tomlin called Pittsburgh’s franchise QB ”questionable” but otherwise offered little detail, less than 24 hours after Roethlisberger was pounded into the ground by Chiefs linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston in the 3rd quarter of Steelers’ 16-13 overtime victory.
”He is being evaluated,” Tomlin recounted. ”Obviously this injury puts his collaboration in the questionable category for this week.”
Roethlisberger left the game and went to the hospital to for an MRI-exam. He went through more tests to determine the severity of the sprain to the sternoclavicular (SC) joint in his throwing shoulder.
Roethlisberger was scrambling in the pocket to buy time on Pittsburgh’s 1st possession of the 2nd half when Houston wrapped up Roethlisberger’s legs and Hali slammed into him, driving the quarterback’s right side into the damp Heinz Field turf. Roethlisberger didn’t appear to be hurt walking off the field but quickly made his way to the locker room before leaving the stadium with the game still in progress.
”It did not seem like a tough hit … But he came to the sideline and next second he was gone,” Pittsburgh left tackle Max Starks said. ”I’m hoping it was nothing heavy. Honestly it didn’t look like it.”
If Roethlisberger can’t play, the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) will turn vet backup Byron Leftwich, who finished 7 of 14 passes for 73 yards in relief as Steelers won its 4th 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 Buccaneers. His last victory came on Oct. 8, 2006 when the Jaguars beat the N.Y Jets 41-0.
The former 1st round pick has spent the majority of the last 6 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 7 regular season passes in 2010 after hurting his knee at the end of training camp.
Though there had been a bit of rust after getting pressed into service, Leftwich did guide the Steelers to a go-ahead field goal in the 4th quarter. Basketball lines
”I try and prepare as if I am the starter each week,” Leftwich claimed. ”Nothing will change. I just wish Ben the best. I hope he is healthy. Apart from that I will be ready to go.”
Leftwich insists he has mastered offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s playbook and Leftwich’s colleagues are barely worried if he’s under center on Sunday.
”We don’t have a true rookie back there that’s never taken a snap before,” Starks expounded. ”We feel good about who we’ve got back there if it is Byron. We’ll go forward and wait Ben’s return if that’s the case.”
Roethlisberger isn’t the only big name that could be out on Sunday. Safety Troy Polamalu is still plagued by a right calf injury and Tomlin described him ”doubtful” to compete against the Baltimore Ravens.