Steelers fans got some good news on Tuesday, to go along with the bad news of the suspension of linebacker James Harrison.
According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Maurkice Pouncey have Grade 1 ankle sprains, the mildest form of ankle sprains.
“That was terrible the first time,” Pouncey said, comparing the most recent sprain to the one that knocked him out of Super Bowl XLV. “It’s nowhere near that there. That was season ending. This is not.”
This news would indicate that Roethlisberger will play on Monday night in San Francisco. But Pouncey cautions that Ben’s injury “is pretty serious,” even though it’s still a Grade 1 sprain.
And therein lies the rub. To preserve the heroic nature of Ben’s performance last Thursday against the Browns, it has to seem more serious than the actual diagnosis would indicate.
Then there’s the strategic benefit of making the 49ers think that they possibly will see Charlie Batch instead of Roethlisberger.
Regardless of Ben’s present condition, what he did on Thursday night was indeed heroic. And memorable. Also keep in mind that his broken thumb is, per a source with knowledge of the situation, much farther down the digit than previously reported, making it more like the broken thumb that has knocked out Jay Cutler for two games and counting.
So don’t be surprised to see Roethlisberger on the field next Monday night. But be impressed if he is.