A doctor tells Sports Illustrated's Peter King that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's rib injury could put him at "severe risk" if he were to try to come back too quickly.
"This is not about being a tough guy,'' said [Clark] Fuller, who has neither examined Roethlisberger nor seen his X-rays or scans. So he made it clear he was speaking generally about the dislocation of the first rib, which is connected to the breast bone on one side and the spine on the other. A throwing motion, he said, would not allow the rib to heal, and he would not recommend it any time soon. "Playing football with a dislocated first rib would put you at severe risk. There are many things to be concerned about, including destroying the nerves in the arm.''
Fuller (who has not examined Roethlisberger) says the quarterback could be out for at least a month. Of course, no one really knows at this point exactly how much time Roethlisberger will miss, but most estimates seem to be from three to four weeks.
As if Roethlisberger's importance to the Steelers weren't already perfectly clear, Sunday night's loss to the Ravens showed why the Steelers need him back -- Byron Leftwich under-threw his targets several times during the game, leading to speculation about whether he himself might be injured. The Steelers, though, kept running him out there, evidently preferring a struggling Leftwich to Charlie Batch. All other things being equal, the Steelers would have had an excellent chance of winning against the Ravens Sunday if Roethlisberger had been in the game.