By Danny Cox
2016 started off hot for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they began the season with a 4-1 record, despite a number of injuries which took their toll on many aspects of the team. However, the injuries became too numerous and happened to key players. This led to a two-game losing streak and a meet-up with the divisional rival Baltimore Ravens where the winner sits on top of the AFC North.
Many didn’t expect the Steelers to be struggling as they have been in recent weeks. Even fewer people expected the Baltimore Ravens to be going through as difficult a season as they are currently going through.
Then again, no-one really expected quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be back on the field as quickly as he may be from a knee injury and surgery; but Big Ben may in fact just do that.
In Week 6, Big Ben suffered a torn meniscus in his knee that saw him miss one series against the Miami Dolphins, but no other time in that loss. After the game, he did end up learning the true severity of the injury and it brought along surgery, which many thought may keep him on the sidelines for four to six weeks.
Rumors started flying around last week that he would be back to practice during the bye week, but coaches thought better of that. Then, the bye week passed and Roethlisberger ended up on the field again with his teammates and shocked a lot of people. The thing is…could he possibly be ready for game-action in Week 9 against the Baltimore Ravens?
Some experts gave him a 4-6 week timeline for his return. Others thought that he would be back in 1-3 weeks. Honestly, no one had a full, clear, nor concise idea on when he would be back. One thing is certain: He is sick and tired of so-called “experts” saying how he is feeling and how he’s doing when they really have no idea.
“It’s amazing how these reports come out when it’s not like we had practiced all week. Nothing has happened. Nothing has changed since last week when I did some individual work. I’m not really sure where the reports come from,” Roethlisberger said. “Everyone’s got the insider information, but we know the plan. The plan has been the same as it’s been, take it one day at a time.”
On Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gave an update on his starting quarterback’s status and said that if all goes well in the remainder of practice this week, Roethlisberger “could have a chance to play” against the Ravens.
He was limited in practice on Monday and Tuesday, but he’s getting the work in and looking good on the field. Depending on how many first-team reps he gets through practice on Friday could say a lot for his gametime status on Sunday. The Ravens are preparing for him to be on the field and playing, so they’ve been practicing as if the defense will have to face him.
If Roethlisberger isn’t back to play in Week 9, it’s almost a given that he will face off with the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 13.