|Ben Roethlisberger could be back by what figures to be an important showdown with the Ravens Dec. 2. (US Presswire)|
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has been ruled out for Sunday night's big game with the division-leading Ravens due to shoulder and rib injuries, and although Roethlisberger has talked about his rib problem possibly being life-threatening, the medical concern is the shoulder, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Roethlisberger, who has a history of publicly embellishing injuries (broken toes/torn rotator cuff) seems to thrive in these situations, and while he does have a shoulder sprain that could very well keep him out of next week's game against Cleveland, it is quite possible he'll be back for Week 13's rematch with the Ravens in Baltimore. His ribs are being monitored by doctors, who have also expressed that the true concern for further injury or aggravation is his shoulder. The star quarterback is week-to-week at this point. According to league sources, if Roethlisberger legitimately had a life-threatening rib issue, coach Mike Tomlin would have spoken to that this week, the team would have ruled him out indefinitely, and also would have made such an announcement well before Wednesday.
In the past, Roethlisberger has seemed to use these medical situations as motivation to raise his game even higher (though he did struggle mightily a few years back when coming back too quickly from an ankle sprain), and his teammates believe he will be a force again come December when he gets back on the field.
The Steelers will have tailback Rashard Mendenhall back for Sunday night's game, and he will start according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Reserves Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are also both scheduled to be active should Mendenhall not be able to carry a regular load due to all the time he has missed. Also, though Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu will miss a sixth straight game with his muscle strain, he is getting closer to a return. The team expects Polamalu back by the rematch with Baltimore, sources said.