Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, suffered a rare injury to his throwing shoulder in Monday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. According to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Roethlisberger sprained the sternoclavicular (SC) joint in his right shoulder. Initial reports following the game were unclear about a more serious injury to his ribcage.
In interviews with the media Wednesday, Roethlisberger confirmed the injury to his SC joint, but said the more serious issue is the dislocation of his first rib, which could be potentially deadly. If the rib moves in the wrong direction, it could puncture his aorta. His injury is so rare, it is reportedly the first time Roethlisberger’s doctor had heard of that type of injury since 1998 when a rugby player presented with a similar injury.
Prior to reports about Roethlisberger’s injury to his ribcage, Kerlan-Jobe orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache was interviewed by NFL.com regarding the injury. Dr. ElAttrache said the injury to Roethlisberger’s SC joint could cause him significant pain and inflammation, affecting “his ability to throw with velocity.”
In analyzing the injury to Roethlisberger’s shoulder, the best-case scenario according to Dr. ElAttrache: Ben Roethlisberger could play this weekend against the Ravens. The worst case scenario: He experiences enough pain and inflammation, as well as small micro-motion that could make it difficult for him to throw effectively, keeping him out of the game anywhere from one to two or three weeks.
Listen to Dr. ElAttrache’s interview on NFL.com
The Steelers have since confirmed Roethlisberger will not play in this weekend’s game. Roethlisberger told reporters Wednesday the injury to his rib cage is life-threatening and that he has “no timetable to return” to the game. He went on to tell reporters that he is able to move his arm, but in doing so, his rib will “pop out of place again, which is pretty painful. I just try to keep it as still as I can for the most part.”
Roethlisberger said he has no timetable to return to the game. In the mean time, the Steelers will have to rely on Quarterback Byron Leftwich, who hasn’t started an NFL game since 2009.