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Report: Ben Roethlisberger's return to Steelers could be sooner, rather than later

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The Pittsburgh Steelers need Ben Roethlisberger back to truly contend in 2016. New reports are suggesting he could be back sooner than later.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

No one truly knows when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be back in the lineup. He had to sit out the Week 7 game against the New England Patriots, and is entering the bye week in hopes of being able to be in the lineup in Week 9 when the Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Most fans thought this was the best-case scenario, until ESPN reports suggested Roethlisberger could be out 4-6 weeks due to his previous injury history with his left knee.

Nonetheless, before the team's 4:25 p.m. EDT kickoff, CBS Sports Jason La Confora reported the Steelers organization is expecting a return sooner, rather than later.

"Team officials are optimistic he could face the Ravens and would be surprised if Roethlisberger missed more than two games barring an unforeseen setback. It is conceivable Roethlisberger could play Week 9 even if he misses much of practice that week, and the team in all likelihood will see how he feels Friday and Saturday of that week before a final decision is made."

These reports should be taken with a grain of salt, especially considering the simple fact it all depends on how Roethlisberger's knee feels as the rehabilitation process begins. Roethlisberger spoke to CBS Sports prior to the Patriots game and stated he will start the process this week, in hopes of getting back to the playing field as soon as possible. He did say, if the Week 7 game were a playoff game, he would have been on the field playing.

It will be a wait-and-see approach following the bye week for Roethlisberger and the Steelers, but La Confora continued, stating the team doesn't plan on bringing in any other quarterbacks to help bolster the position moving forward.

"The Steelers have no plans to work out additional quarterbacks or acquire a veteran -- something they would consider if they expected Roethlisberger to miss a month or more -- and will start backup Landry Jones in the interim. If Jones struggles, one team source indicated a move to strong-armed Zach Mettenberger may not be far off."

Jones didn't pay poorly in Week 7, but fans everywhere are hoping to see No. 7 back in the lineup in Week 9 against the Ravens.