On Sunday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that the condition of Ben Roethlisberger’s knee is a “bigger deal” than the Pittsburgh Steelers have let on and that the injury was “trending in the wrong direction.”
A ‘Phony’ Report?
At his virtual press conference on Wednesday afternoon, the Steelers quarterback dismissed that report as “one of those phony things that people sometimes want to make up.” (No reaction, as of yet, from La Canfora.)
But at the same time, Roethlisberger admitted that he was having significant knee issues prior to the game against Washington; that he has chronic problems with at least one of his knees; and the way his body feels is “kind of a week-by-week thing.”
The subject of his health first came up on Wednesday when reporter Will Graves of the Associated Press asked him about his habit of taking Wednesday’s off from practice, whether he might consider practicing more, and weighing that against wanting to “not overdo it” in terms of stressing his throwing arm.
“I’m not so worried about the arm. My arm feels really good,” said Roethlisberger. “We still need to be prudent because we don’t really know—we haven’t put together a long body of work since we’ve had the surgery—but right now my arm feels really good, it’s more about the rest of the body,” he added, with that latter statement being the most revealing thing he said during the course of the press conference.
Ben Roethlisberger: ‘All of Those Things Add Up’
“The cumulation of the toll of the hits, of pounding, the grinding, of being 38 years old, all of those things kind of add up,” he admitted, lending credence to the idea that it’s not his arm—or arm strength—that has been compromising his playing ability in recent weeks.
In fact, Roethlisberger went on to say that his arm feels better this season than it has at this time of year in prior seasons.
“Typically, this time of year my elbow would be getting worn down and I don’t feel that right now. So I am very encouraged by that,” he added, noting that he consults with team doctors and trainers on an ongoing basis. “JUst because it feels good, you don’t want to push it so much that you fall off that cliff—[where] you go downhill right away.”
But though Roethlisberger’s arm has seemingly held up relatively well, the condition of his knee(s), or other accumulated damage, could by itself, keep him from playing effectively going forward.
“Yeah, I’m 38 years old, I’ve played [professional] football for 17 years, I’ve had multiple surgeries,” noted Roethlisberger, saying, “a week before [the La Confora report came out]—the Washington [week]—I was definitely having issues with my knee, landed on it, had something going on.”
Yet he insisted the knee feels much better now, in spite of the last game taking place on artificial turf, which typically is “another issue that makes it kinda ache.”
“Other than just an old knee and arthritis, my knee actually feels really good this week,” he concluded.
It that’s true, the Steelers and their fans can probably expect a much better performance from Roethlisberger than they have seen in recent games.
The bad news? The condition of his 38-year-old body is a “week-to-week thing.”
You can watch Ben Roethlisberger’s virtual press conference in its entirety below:
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