Mason Rudolph thought he dislocated his left shoulder in the Dec. 22 game against the Jets. The Steelers quarterback later discovered that he had a more serious posterior sternoclavicular dislocation, an injury that can threaten several vital structures near the medial clavicle, per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“They were worried it would puncture my aorta,” Rudolph told Dulac. “It was very scary.”
Dr. Ivan Tarkin, a trauma surgeon at UPMC Mercy, operated on Rudolph shortly after the team returned home from the loss in East Rutherford, N.J. The second-year player stayed in a trauma unit for three days after the procedure.
“I thought it was a bad AC sprain,” Rudolph said. “I played a couple more plays and throws with it. Adrenaline was still pumping. Once I came over to the sideline it stiffened up and I was like, ‘I can’t even move my left arm or left side of my body.’ It was pretty painful.”
Rudolph will need two months for the injury to heal, but he’s on the road to recovery.
Rudolph, a third-round choice in 2018, learned a lot in his first season seeing game action. But the Steelers’ plan is for him to return to serving as Ben Roethlisberger‘s backup in 2020.