With Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger writhing in pain on the ground, fans around the globe held their collective breath and hoped for the best, in regards to the diagnosis of Roethlisberger's lower leg injury. As the hours after the game slowly slipped away, fans were given bits of information in regards to the knee injury which would have Roethlisberger missing significant time. How long he would remain out of the lineup was the question on everyone's mind.
As it turns out, Roethlisberger's sprained MCL and bone bruise will sideline the quarterback for at least 4 weeks, despite he and Mike Tomlin not willing to put any time frame on the injury. However, as the Steelers, and their fans, got the best-case scenario in regards to the injury, as Roethlisberger spoke to the media for the first time Tuesday, it seems as if it is a long road ahead for the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
"I don't know," Roethlisberger said, speaking for the first time since his injury when asked about his potential return. "It's one of those things where we got to take it week by week. I know I'm out this week and we'll re-evaluate next week and kind of go from there. There's no way to put a timetable on it."
When it comes to returning to the field, Roethlisberger realizes what this can mean in regards to the impact of the injury moving forward. "The MCL is the issue with the stability; the bone bruise is the issue with the pain," Roethlisberger said. "I can deal with a lot of pain, but this is pretty painful."
How painful was the injury itself? So bad Roethlisberger thought he broke his leg after the hit in the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday.
"Initially, my knee, my leg, everything hurt," Roethlisberger said. "Eventually, my knee started to feel better, but as I was going off the field I told the doc I feel like my leg is broke. It felt really bad. What they concluded was that was the two bones smacking together that caused the bone bruise. That's what I felt initially."
The topic of conversation has shifted in the days following the diagnosis, and fans are now wondering why the low hit by Rams safety Mark Barron. The NFL rule book clearly states no defender is allowed to hit a quarterback below the knee either before, or after, throwing the football.
When asked what he thought of the play, Roethlisberger took the high road, as usual. "I don't think it was a dirty hit, I don't think he was trying to take me out," Roethlisberger said. "But according to the rules, it was a low hit, so maybe it should have been flagged. But I don't think he did anything to intentionally hurt me."
The Steelers now turn their attention to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football, without Roethlisberger. With Michael Vick under center, Roethlisberger said he will certainly be a part of the game-planning process and helping Vick get acclimated to the nuances which will come with running the Todd Haley offense.