Over the weekend, CBS Sports issued a report which got Steeler Nation‘s attention. According to their “sources,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to make his return to the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 25th. That would be exactly four weeks from the initial injury, which was the best case scenario given at the time. Unfortunately, there’s one little problem with this news.
Big Ben says it’s not true.
On his weekly radio show yesterday afternoon, Ben was asked about the report. He proclaimed ignorance before mentioning Steelers team doctor Dr. Joseph Bradley asked him about it during one of their regular check-ups. According to Ben, there has been no time table put in place by either the team, himself, or his doctors. He’ll play when he can, end of story.
If I were a betting man, I’d peg his return for the weekend after 25th. The Steelers play the Chiefs at the end of October which while important in terms of being a conference game does not quite have the significance of the following week’s opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bungles are currently undefeated and while they look to be the class of the division, we’ve seen many times how important head-to-head victories are in terms of tie breakers. A win against any division opponent is basically worth two games in the loss column.
Assuming Ben sits out the next three games, that leaves Michael Vick to face the Chargers, Cardinals, and Chiefs. Those are all decent teams but they’re not unbeatable as the Josh McCown led Browns nearly beat them on Sunday while the Cards were upended by the Nick Foles led Rams team we beat handily. Ben returning November 1st against the Bengals gives us our best chance in a really crucial game then the following week the Steelers host the improved – but still very beatable – Raiders at Heinz Field. After that the Steelers have a bye thus giving Ben a full six weeks of recovery time out of the next eight.
Of course, Ben has shown throughout his career a desire to return to the field at the earliest possible opportunity. Sometimes to his and the team’s detriment, as when he rushed back from the near fatal car accident and played horrifically the first two months of the season. The Steelers certainly miss their star QB but as long as they don’t go oh fer the next two games I don’t think it’ll be time to push the panic button. Sure would’ve been nice to pull that Ravens game out…