A rotator cuff injury is no laughing matter. But Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger almost seems to be jokingly toying with the media by mentioning the injury in the first place.
Isn't it possible, by this point, the injury itself has done the damage it's going to do, and anything that comes after it is just adding to his growing resume of ailments?
Simply put, he wouldn't be practicing if the injury was going to slow him down. He wouldn't have "played through the pain" and not had surgery if it was something that would significantly hinder him.
But, arm strength is still an important part of a quarterback's arsenal.
Just as decision-making, mobility and pocket presence are weapons a passer must possess.
If the standard is the standard, then an injury of whatever kind not preventing him from practicing shouldn't matter. It's likely fans and front office personnel alike have long since accepted the fact Roethlisberger loves speaking about his injuries with a smile on his face; almost like he enjoys bragging about them.
While his ankle injury may have affected his mobility toward the end of last season, the shoulder injury he apparently had affected his ability to throw the ball accurately deep down the field. Since their offense was largely predicated on the deep ball, it shouldn't take Bill Walsh to see the offense was affected by it.
Due to a lack of consistent blood flow into the rotator cuff muscles, any injury to that area takes a while to heal. A rotator cuff tear doesn't always require surgery, but it would take a good amount of rehabilitation to get it back to 100 percent.
We noted this spring Roethlisberger had begun his workout regiment earlier in the offseason than he ever had. His comments at the time were due to the fact he turned 30 years old, which is certainly a viable reason. The process it takes to heal that kind of an injury, though, was obviously avoided in the conversation.
It's likely the Steelers won't try many deep throws in their upcoming preseason games, partially to save those big throws and the stress it puts on the shoulder for when it counts, partially to not give teams an idea of the strength he still has.
Odds are good Roethlisberger is playing it up simply because he can, and he'll be ready to go, at the latest, before Week 1. So we'll just add the injury to his ever-growing collection of bullets on his resume.