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Big Ben Not Targeting Early Return


Franchise quarterbacks don’t exactly have a lot of resting time during the NFL season, and that rings doubly true for Ben Roethlisberger, who is entering his prime as the lifeblood of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense.

But despite a crushing defeat last week with a stoic Mike Vick at the helm, Big Ben remains steadfast in his claim that he is not eyeing an early return, and instead plans to give his MCL the fullest time to heal.

Roethlisberger debunked the myth that he would be back on the field for the Steelers’ home game against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 25, which would be in the fourth week of an injury that carries an expected recovery time of 4-6 weeks.

“I just left [team doctor James] Bradley, and he said, ‘Where do these reports come from that you’re coming back at a certain week?’ ” Roethlisberger said on a local radio show. “I’m like, ‘I don’t know, Doc. I haven’t really heard any of them.’”

“We know that people like to just speculate and say things,” he added. “So that did not come from me, the Steelers or any of our doctors, more importantly.”

It’s hard to say where these unconfirmed reports came from, particularly if they’re news to Roethlisberger himself, but Big Ben hasn’t exactly been the type of player to take it easy when restricted to the sidelines.

His sideline appearance without crutches during the team’s week 4 loss encouraged many fans, and perhaps made them believe their ironman quarterback would be back far sooner than expected.

“There is still quite a bit of pain where the bones smacked together,” Roethlisberger explained. “There is bruising there. The MCL isn’t super painful. I can feel it when I walk at times, but the problem is if I walk without a brace.”

While the physical injury itself should heal within the next 2-3 weeks, it is the pain and bruising of the bones that carries an extra two-week penalty. When he does return, Ben will don a knee brace for the first time in his career.

If the offensive line can remain stout, his restricted elusiveness within the pocket won’t be as big of an issue as it may have been in previous years behind some porous blocking. Without help up front though, it’s understandable that Steeler Nation may be a little nervous for his first couple of drives back.

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