On Sunday morning Ian Rapoport, National Insider for the NFL Network/NFL.com, said Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback “Ben Roethlisberger is in a better place health-wise right now than he has been at any time over the last month.”
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that Big Ben “has been dealing with some significant things,” and some of what he’s dealing been dealing with is chronic.
“This issue with Ben is not [his] knee—is actually knees,” said Rapoport, noting that Roethlisberger has arthritis in both knees and that both knees have been operated on (“cleaned out over the course of the last several years,” as Rapoport put it.)
Ben Roethlisberger Suffered a Hyperextended Knee vs. Washington
But making matters worse is that Roethlisberger “got hyperextended” during the team’s Week 13 loss to Washington, which appears to be a contributing factor to a sharp decline in his play in recent weeks.
This new report dovetails with most of what we’ve heard about Roethlisberger’s health in recent weeks. Two weeks ago, Jason La Confora of CBS Sports indicated that Roethlisberger’s knee problems were a “bigger deal” than he or the team was letting on—and also trending in the wrong direction—a report that Big Ben dismissed as “phony.”
Never mind that Roethlisberger was already having significant knee problems before he hyperextended his knee against Washington. Recall that he didn’t participate in the team’s regular practices in the runup to the Washington game and was listed as questionable for that contest. It was only the day before the game that we learned he was “expected to play, barring an unforeseen setback.”
This season’s knee issues seem to date back at least as far as the game against the Dallas Cowboys on November 8th, when he was whiplashed by two defenders and it “bent my knee a little bit,” said Roethlisberger at the time.
Ben Roethlisberger’s Elbow/Arm?
As for the condition of Big Ben’s passing arm and elbow, “The Steelers believe his arm is the same as it has been,” according to Rapoport. That is, good enough to win AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Bengals on November 15th, before his knees started trending in the wrong direction.
This also dovetails with what Roethlisberger has indicated during his media sessions. Recall that it was just two weeks ago that he said his arm feels “really good” … “it’s more about the rest of the body.”
Steelers Inactives vs. the Colts
As for Pittsburgh’s inactives on Sunday, the biggest name on the list is placekicker Chris Boswell, who has a groin injury. He will be replaced by practice squad kicker Matthew Wright, who also subbed in for Boswell three weeks ago, when Boswell was dealing with a hip injury.
Rookie running back Anthony McFarland Jr. is also inactive for the Indianapolis game, as he’s been dealing with an unspecified illness in recent days.
Linebackers Marcus Allen and Ola Adeniyi are inactive due to injury, a stinger in the case of Allen and a shoulder in the case of Adeniyi.
Defensive lineman Isiah Buggs and third-string quarterback Joshua Dobbs are also inactive, the latter having been inactive for every game this season.
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