Obtaining an accurate timetable for an injury on a Tuesday can be an impossible task if the injury in question leaves the door even slightly ajar for the possibility of an appearance on a football field this week. And that’s where we seem to be with Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers quarterback suffered a shoulder injury during Pittsburgh’s overtime win over Kansas City last night. At his noon press conference today head coach Mike Tomlin confirm that Roethlisberger has an SC sprain, and he’s questionable for Pittsburgh’s key Week 11 divisional game against Baltimore. From my limited (see: none) medical experience, I’ve learned that injuries which can be summarized in two letters are often awful, but this could be the exception. I think.
So what exactly is an SC sprain? For the answer to that question we turn to Jene Bramel, a physician and the injury expert over at Football Guys. Turns out this could actually be more of a chest injury than a shoulder injury. Neat
From Bramel through a series of tweets:
Cannot see Roethlisberger playing w/ SC sprain (even if low grade) this week. Very difficult to support this injury through throwing motion.
Roethlisberger’s SC joint sprain dx likely means there’s been no additional damage to rotator cuff. This is more of chest inj than shoulder.
However, could be reason for concern should Roethlisberger try to throw too soon, alter his motion and stress rotator cuff injury.
Bramel also added that the optimistic reports of Roethlisberger likely returning next week hint strongly at a low-grade sprain.
Need more medical-speak through Twitter sound bites? Have at it, Stephania Bell:
SC = Sternoclavicular joint (where collarbone and sternum (chest) meet). Comprises part of the shoulder complex.
Sprain = injury to ligaments/capsule which protect joint but no degree given so hard to establish severity.
Expect early rest/pain control; key to his return will be when he can establish normal throwing motion; hard to predict timetable
So there you have it, kids. He’s hurt, and at this early point in the week if we had to make the ol’ gun to the head call, I’d say we’re probably going to see Byron Leftwich starting under center for the Steelers Sunday night against the Ravens. But between Bramel’s analysis and the reports from the likes of CBS’ Mike Freeman, there’s strong evidence to suggest Roethlisberger could only miss one game.
If you’re seeking a desperate waiver wire option to replace him, then for reasons known to only a secret sect of society Carson Palmer remains available in nearly 35 percent of ESPN leagues. Beyond him, Ryan Tannehill is still pretty inviting with his matchup against Buffalo Thursday night (owned in 20 percent of leagues), and then you’re likely looking at a Nick Foles dice roll.