Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger says bum ankle is even worse now
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says his bum ankle was feeling "really good" going into this past Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately for Roethlisberger and Steelers fans, it didn't feel that way after the game.
Roethlisberger revealed Wednesday that his sprained ankle suffered a "setback" during what turned out to be a meaningless game Sunday.
"I felt really good going in the Cleveland game," Roethlisberger saidas he and the Steelers prepared for Sunday's wild-card game against the Broncos in Denver. "I had a little setback early in the third quarter, so we're working really hard right now with the trainers and doctors to get back to even where we were before the Cleveland game."
Imagine that — playing a professional football game does nothing to soothe and heal an injury. Funny that the Steelers didn't figure that out after playing a clearly hurting Roethlisberger — who initially sprained his ankle Dec. 8 against the Browns and still finished that game — against the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 19.
Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin took a lot of heat for leaving Roethlisberger in during the loss to the 49ers even with the game out of reach and the Steelers already assured a playoff spot. Tomlin decided to rest his franchise quarterback the following week, and backup Charlie Batch had no trouble leading the Steelers to a 27-0 victory over the lowly St. Louis Rams.
Instead of giving Roethlisberger one more week to heal before the playoffs, the Steelers decided to play him against four-win Cleveland in hopes they could claim the AFC North title and a first-round bye with a win, coupled with a loss by the Baltimore Ravens.
Still far from 100%, Roethlisberger managed to lead his team to a 13-9 victory, but the Ravens earned the division title by beating the Cincinnati Bengals. Which leaves the Steelers with a playoff game this weekend and a hobbled quarterback who says his injured ankle has been set back about a week.
Nonetheless, Roethlisberger did his best to sound upbeat.
"We'll see," he said. "We'll be all right."
— Chuck Schilken
Photo: Ben Roethlisberger leaves the field in Cleveland on Sunday. Credit: Matt Sullivan / Getty Images