The Pittsburgh Steelers continue to face adversity early on in the 2011 NFL season, and it’s not just coming in the form of losses. On Sunday during their 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans, the Steelers saw three key players suffer injuries.
The most noteworthy, of course, is the left foot sprain suffered by Ben Roethlisberger. As he always does, Big Ben valiantly played through the pain for all 60 minutes, but in the locker room following the loss, Roethlisberger was in a protective walking boot and limping visibly. Tests showed that Roethlisberger fortunately did not break any bones in his left foot, but the sprain will be painful to play through were Roethlisberger to suit up for the Steelers’ Week 5 home matchup against the Tennessee Titans. For the time being, Roethlisberger’s status for next Sunday remains unclear.
Staying on offense, Rashard Mendenhall left the game in the third quarter after apparently injuring his hamstring on a three-yard touchdown run, the lone scoring play for Pittsburgh all afternoon. It didn’t appear as if Mendenhall had hurt himself on the play, but he did not return following the score. I, and others, wondered if Mike Tomlin had simply decided to turn to Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore for a spark in the running game, but apparently that was not the case.
On the other side of the ball, veteran defensive end Aaron Smith suffered the same fate as Big Ben — a sprained foot. He too was in a walking boot following the game. Because of how much Smith has struggled in the first four games of the season, one has to wonder what his future holds for the remainder of the season if he looks like he’ll need any sort of significant recovery time before being able to play again. Hopefully Smith is able to return and make one final push towards helping the Steelers’ defense contend before wrapping up his illustrious career in Pittsburgh.
Finally, star linebacker James Harrison did not sustain a concussion as was feared. Instead, the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year took a finger to his eye during a violent collision between a Texan and multiple Steelers defenders.
“He had a little double vision,” Tomlin said. “Once that cleared, he was able to come back into the game.”
Thankfully it appears as if Harrison will be cleared to play in the Steelers’ important AFC clash with the 3-1 Tennessee Titans.
We’ll know more about these injuries early on this week, so stay tuned here and at Behind the Steel Curtain for updates and reaction as the Steelers move on from their Week 4 loss to the Texans.