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Steelers fans should take Ben Roethlisberger projections to return with a grain of salt

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Another day, another projection on when Ben Roethlisberger will return. When will it end?

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

It seems to be an almost daily occurrence for fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Another “NFL Insider” releases a projection on just when they have “sourced” Ben Roethlisberger will return to the playing field after his torn meniscus in Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins.

The most recent update? This time it comes from ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

With this most likely being the third or fourth projection released from different sources, it make you wonder just what to believe.

ESPN’s Chris Mortenson said it would be a 4-6 week injury due to previous damage from his knee injury in 2015. CBSSports Jason La Confora reported he will be out 1-2 weeks and is expected to play in the Week 9 game against the Baltimore Ravens, and now Schefter chimes in with a very vague report from a source.

Believe it or not, in the time while writing this article Sunday morning, La Confora put out a completely contradictory report to Schefter’s suggesting Roethlisberger will be ready to go after the team’s bye week.

The roller coaster ride on Roethlisberger’s potential return has been tumultuous, but fans should take all these reports with a grain of salt.

Why?

Everyone can say they have an inside source, but everyone would be wise to let the practice report gauge just how serious Roethlisberger is to playing in Week 9. If Roethlisberger is a limited participant for most of the week, and practices fully by the end of the week, there is a good chance he will play when the team travels to M&T Bank Stadium in Week 9.

If he doesn’t practice at all in the early portions of the week, primarily Wednesday and Thursday practices, you can expect Mike Tomlin to suggest they will “leave the door open” for Roethlisberger, but it would look more like a Week 10 return against the Dallas Cowboys at Heinz Field than in Week 9.

Ultimately, no one really knows if Roethlisberger will play in Week 9, including Roethlisberger and the Steelers staff. Roethlisberger hasn’t put his knee to the test since injuring it in Miami, rightfully so, and is expected to test the knee sometime this week. The true test of his availability will be how his knee responds to him going through a practice and the tension which accompanies the workload.

Steelers fans want Roethlisberger under center against their bitter rivals, but the risk of further injury to his knee is what will truly tell how the team handles their franchise quarterback coming off the bye week.

Do I think Roethlisberger will play next Sunday in the Charm City? I honestly don’t know, nor will I make a prediction. I encourage everyone to simply take a wait-and-see approach to the situation and see how it unfolds. If Roethlisberger can’t play, it will be Landry Jones under center for the second straight game.

Lord help us all...