Ben Roethlisberger left Sunday’s win at home against Miami in a walking boot, making it seem like leaving him in at the end of a big victory might have been a very costly decision by Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. However, sources tell me Roethlisberger was checked Monday by team physicians and the injury is considered a minor sprain. He didn’t wear the walking boot after the exam, a sign there’s already progress.
There is still some significant swelling and tenderness, the result of a simple sprain that happened near the end of the game. The ankle can be seen rolling under Dolphins defender Cameron Wake as Roethlisberger is going down in this Adam Schefter tweet:
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 8, 2017
Roethlisberger was placed in the walking boot as a precaution and spent much of Sunday with his ankle on ice. Roethlisberger is well versed in injury recovery and I’m told he has a lot of his own equipment, including compression devices, at home.
At this time, the Steelers don’t believe Roethlisberger will miss any time, though they’ll be careful with him in early practices. Roethlisberger doesn’t normally wear braces during games, but has done so at points in the past. Again, Roethlisberger is not believed to have a serious injury and should play normally against Kansas City on Sunday. The extra day to prepare will help, but Roethlisberger would have likely played on Saturday as well.
Roethlisberger has some history with ankle sprains and lower leg issues, but this isn’t related in any way to those. This is a simple ankle sprain – a “low” or “basketball” sprain – as a result of the traumatic twisting seen on that late play. While Roethlisberger isn’t known as a mobile quarterback, his pocket presence is due to his ability to move within the chaos of a rush but more importantly, due to his size and stability. For that, he will need a healthy ankle.
Expect Roethlisberger to be at practice early and to be fully functional by Thursday or Friday, with Sunday’s play looking as if the injury never happened, absent a setback. Putting a simple lace-up brace on Roethlisberger is likely the only precaution the medical staff will take with their quarterback. For Kansas City, their pass rush may get a slight advantage if Roethlisberger’s ankle affects his movement or stability, but I expect that to be very slight if at all.