Ben Roethlisberger has more than a sprained shoulder that will force him to miss this week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback said today he also has a dislocated rib that could puncture his aorta.
Byron Leftwich will make his first National Football League start since 2009 as he replaces Roethlisberger for the Nov. 18 game at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. The Steelers (6-3) play the American Football Conference North Division-leading Ravens (7-2) twice in the next three weeks.
The Steelers said yesterday that Roethlisberger strained his throwing shoulder when he was sacked during the third quarter of last week’s 16-13 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs. Roethlisberger today disclosed he also has the rib injury, which he said is a bigger concern and will prevent him from playing until it heals.
“That’s the more scary part because I guess if it goes in the wrong direction it could puncture the aorta,” Roethlisberger told reporters at the team’s training complex, without saying how much time he might miss.
The aorta carries blood from the heart’s ventricle to all the main arteries.
Roethlisberger, who has led the Steelers to two Super Bowl titles in his nine NFL seasons, said his pain level is “probably about a nine on a scale of 1-to-10” and that he’s gotten about four hours of sleep in a chair the past two days.
Without Roethlisberger, the Steelers are listed as 3-point underdogs at home against the Ravens, according to the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book. They had been listed as 3 1/2-point favorites for the game before Roethlisberger’s injury.
Roethlisberger has passed for 2,287 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Leftwich replaced him in the second half against the Chiefs and completed 7-of-14 passes for 73 yards. Leftwich is 0-6 in his past six NFL starts, with his last win as a starter coming in 2006.
“Byron gets enough reps in practice and incorporates the plays that Ben likes to do,” Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said on the NFL Network. “We’re going to keep trying to roll with the things that are going hot for us right now.”
The Steelers have won four games in a row after a 2-3 start.
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