PITTSBURGH -- Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, putting Charlie Batch in line to start Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Initial reports had Dixon missing up to 3-to-5 weeks with the injury, although, head coach Mike Tomlin said more should be known on a timeline for the injury once the surgery is complete.
Byron Leftwich, who was re-signed Monday after his abrupt release on Saturday, is expected to return to practice this week from a sprained MCL suffered in the final preseason game. It's unclear if his left knee would be healthy enough by Sunday to challenge Batch for the starting role.
"He's (Leftwich) been able to comfortably get through some workouts. We feel comfortable with where he is. We're going to proceed through the week and see how this thing sorts out," Tomlin said of the possibility of either QB starting. "You've got say that Charlie has the pole position, if you will, because he's got a clean bill of health at this point. We don't anticipate Byron's health being an issue, but at this point, at least, you have to acknowledge that could be a factor."
Leftwich was expected to be Pittsburgh's starting quarterback while Ben Roethlisberger sat out his league mandated four-game suspension to start the season.
Dixon was handed the starting gig after Leftwich's injury and led the Steelers to a Week 1 overtime win against Atlanta. The third-year signal-caller lasted just over a quarter versus the Titans, though, with what was originally called a sprained left knee.
Batch was under centre for the rest of the game and was the only true quarterback dressed for Sunday's win other than Dixon. Dixon was 4-of-6 for 18 yards with 28 yards rushing on three attempts before the injury. Batch wound up 5-for-11 for 25 yards. Both Steeler QBs fumbled twice in the game.
In addition, Tomlin said starting right guard Trai Essex has a sprained ankle and is considered questionable for Sunday. The Steelers are expected to get left tackle Max Starks (ankle) and nose tackle Casey Hampton (hamstring) back for the Bucs game. Both sat out last week after being injured in Week 1.