PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on Wednesday he would do “whatever he can” to be available to play against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday after sustaining a left pectoral injury during the a Week 2 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
“I don’t know how it happened, I just know it happened early in the game,” Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberger had 10 quarterback hits in that game, including a hard one by defensive end Maxx Crosby on the fourth and 4 at the start of the second quarter. Crosby beat right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor with an inside swing, and his helmet pierced Roethlisberger just below his left shoulder, near the Steelers logo on his jersey.
Roethlisberger, 39, said the injury affected him during the game, but as he hasn’t attempted a pass since, he’s unsure how it will affect his throwing movement.
“Usually when I grab something outside of my body frame or, you know, trying to lift myself up, get off the ground,” Roethlisberger said, describing when he felt pain with the injury.
Roethlisberger had to take off the ground frequently on Sunday, getting up after being pierced by the Raiders’ pass rush.
“We knew coming in there they had a good rush that was going to be high traction guys, who were going to get it,” Roethlisberger said. “And so, you know, you have to prepare for that. But we all have to be better at eliminating hits, having better running play, having more big plays, being more efficient. So that’s up to all of us. to help these things. “
Coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that it happens too often.
“He took too many hits,” Tomlin said. “We can handle the ball better. We can get the ball out of his hand faster. We can stick to the schedule and not get behind the sticks and find ourselves in situations where the winning line is so far that it improves the game. race.”
Playing behind a young offensive line, Roethlisberger continued to recognize the growing pains his unit continues to go through more than two weeks into the season.
“I tell guys a lot, nobody has to be great,” he said. “If we’re all good and collectively we can be great. You know, attacking is such a group effort. It literally takes 11 guys in every game to make it work, and when one guy is a little behind here or there you can affect the whole thing. So we will continue to learn and grow and find how we can try to improve ourselves. “
Tomlin first revealed his quarterback’s injury on Tuesday and said it could affect his preparation for the week. Roethlisberger, who usually doesn’t train on Wednesday, is no stranger to playing despite injuries with limited preparation on the pitch. A year ago, Roethlisberger injured his knee against the Dallas Cowboys and missed the entire week of training after being seen as close contact with a COVID-19 positive teammate. He didn’t miss a game and threw for 4 touchdowns and 333 yards against the Bengals – also the Steelers’ next opponent in Week 3.
When asked what needed to happen in order for him to feel comfortable playing on Sunday, Roethlisberger played it close to the vest. “Today is only Wednesday,” he said, “so we have plenty of time to prepare to leave.”