Ben Roethlisberger might be able to return for his Pittsburgh Steelers’ game Dec. 2 in Baltimore, but don’t count on it, ESPN reported Sunday.
Steelers doctors are “hopeful, though hardly optimistic” that the quarterback will be sufficiently healed by then from the dinged throwing shoulder and rib injuries he suffered on a crushing sack last Monday against Kansas City, according to the report.
Citing a source “familiar with the situation,” ESPN said Steelers doctors believe the most likely scenario is Big Ben will miss three games, meaning he would return Dec. 9 against visiting San Diego.
Roethlisberger was not expected to suit up Sunday night in the first game of the 15-day home-and-home with the Ravens, nor is he expected to be able to play next Sunday in Cleveland.
The rib injury is potentially serious. ESPN said “doctors believe the greater threat is to the surrounding arteries, vessels and soft tissue” rather than to his aorta, as had been reported.
“Roethlisberger was in as much pain on Friday as he was Monday, a source said, and the timetable for his return is somewhat unpredictable,” ESPN reported. “The injury is rare and needs to heal itself – there’s no treatment or procedure that can fix it quicker.”