Steelers notebook: Pain-killing injection an option for Roethlisberger
January 13, 2016 10:52 AM
The Bengals' Vontaze Burfict takes down Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the third quarter in the AFC Wild Card game.
Ben Roethlisberger is injured on this hit by Vontaze Burfict in the third quarter of Saturday's AFC wild card playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium.
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did not take a pain-killing injection before he reentered the AFC wild card game Saturday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, but that will be an option Sunday when the Steelers play the Denver Broncos in a divisional-round game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Roethlisberger did not practice Wednesday and said he did not know when he would resume throwing, but he said he’d like to play as long as he is not hurting the team.
“Take a lot of mental reps, getting there doing my rehab and treatment, doing everything the doctors say to get back,” said Roethlisberger, who was injured on the final play of the third quarter when Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict sacked him.
Pain in his shoulder prevented Roethlisberger from throwing the ball more than 10 or 15 yards against the Bengals. That could change if he takes an injection before the game against the Broncos.
Roethlisberger said it would be tough to build an offensive game plan without the ability to throw the ball 25 or 30 yards down the field.
“I don’t want to be out there if I hurt the team,” he said. “If you can’t throw the ball 25 or 30 yards down the field, you’re hurting your team. I don’t think we’ll put ourselves in that situation. If we can, any way possible, pain medicine whatever it is, if I have to be in pain the next day, then I’ll deal with it.
“We’re going to do everything we can to get it as stable as we can. We’ll see what kind of pain we can deal with on Sunday.”
‘Don’t be too hard on yourself’
Roethlisberger had sympathy for Landry Jones when the backup quarterback entered Saturday’s game in the fourth quarter. He had limited reps in preparation for the Bengals and had to assume control of the offense after Roethlisberger was injured.
Jones was 2 for 5 for 11 yards and threw an interception on his three drives.
If Jones has to play against the Broncos, he’ll have a full week’s worth of preparation, which Roethlisberger said will help immensely.
“Landry is one of the smarter guys I’ve been around,” Roethlisberger said. “He puts in more preparation than most. We’ve seen growth in a guy a lot of people didn’t anticipate making the team. We all know what he’s capable of doing. I think he gets an unfair rap for the last game. And I told him this: ‘Everyone makes a bad play here and there. You made one bad play but you only had 10 or 15 plays. I made three or four bad plays but I had 60 plays that kind of masked that other one. Don’t be too hard on yourself because you never know when we’ll need you again.’”
Bounty on Wallace
When Broncos safety Darian Stewart threatened Steelers center Cody Wallace earlier in the week, left guard Ramon Foster viewed it as a bounty against his teammate.
Stewart, who did not play against the Steelers when the two teams met Dec. 20 at Heinz Field, told the Denver Post: “It’s not going to be anything as far as cheap or anything. We’re going to get him between the lines, between the whistles. He’s going to be sore after the game, that’s how I see it. He comes out on a screen, he better not come at [me]. I’m cutting him. That’s where I’m at with it. You got me mad right now just thinking about it.”
Foster was taken aback by Stewart’s comments.
“My thing is I thought bounties were illegal,” Foster said. “They’re sending shots or warnings. I don’t understand that. For a guy to put that out there, I find that unnecessary.”
Run game revival
The Steelers rushed for 167 yards against the Bengals one week after struggling to run against the Cleveland Browns, the NFL’s worst rushing defense, in the regular-season finale. They might have to do it again if Roethlisberger is limited and wide receiver Antonio Brown doesn’t play because of a concussion.
Jordan Todman led the team with 65 rushing yards and Fitzgerald Toussaint added 58.
“Those guys did a great job,” tight end Heath Miller said. “We all expected it. No one was surprised by it. If that situation unfolds the same this week, we’ll expect the same from whoever is back there.”
The Steelers rushed for only 23 yards on 17 carries when they beat the Broncos, 34-27, last month. Roethlisberger said they threw the ball 55 times in that game because of the personnel the Broncos used extensively that day. Roethlisberger does not expect the Broncos to use the same defense Sunday, mostly because they’ll have their two starting safeties back in the lineup.
Stewart and T.J. Ward missed the team’s previous meeting because of injuries.
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.
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