Ben Practices Through the Pain

Ben Roethlisberger experienced pain in his re-fractured right thumb upon returning to practice Monday. Here's the story, along with other Monday practice notes.

PITTSBURGH – Before Sunday's bye, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he didn't expect his re-fractured right thumb to be an issue upon his return. Neither did the team's training staff.

When he returned to work Monday, Roethlisberger talked coach Mike Tomlin into practicing and then threw indoors with a splint on his right hand that was covered by a glove.

He endured some pain, but fared well after getting comfortable.

"It hurts first off to just grip the ball," he said. "But I wanted to throw some. I didn't take any under-center snaps. I wanted to take a few reps and at least get a feel for it and get used to it."

Roethlisberger said the pain won't go away by Sunday night, when the Steelers travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs, and, if he must, Roethlisberger said he'd hand off with his left hand.

"But it won't be the first time I played through a little bit of pain," he said before noting that, "Adrenaline is one of the best pain medicines there is."

For any doubters about his status Sunday night, Roethlisberger said, "I promise you I'll be out there."

The same might not hold true for the Steelers' leading pass-rusher, LaMarr Woodley, who missed Monday's practice while recovering from a hamstring injury that's kept him out of the last two games.

WARD IN DARK

Hines Ward said that running with the first team at Monday's practice meant nothing because, "It's Monday. We were just running plays. We haven't determined anything."

Ward said that nobody from the coaching staff has told him that he's been replaced in the starting lineup by Antonio Brown, or on third downs by Jerricho Cotchery – as were the cases in the Steelers' last game – but Ward said he doesn't have an opinion on the matter.

"It doesn't matter what I think," he said. "I think it's a story, but to me I'm just trying to win ball games. We've got a bunch of minor stories within the story, but for me the thing is to just stay positive, continue having fun, continue working my butt off, and whenever my number's called make a play."

Ward needs 30 yards to become the 19th player in NFL history with 12,000 career yards receiving.

FEAR DA SHAMPOOED BEARD

A Head & Shoulders commercial that Brett Keisel filmed in the offseason with Ward and Troy Polamalu finally hit the airwaves last week.

In it, Keisel uses the last of Polamalu's shampoo, and when confronted, Keisel, with a long, Moses-type beard, blamed it on the bald Ward.

Yesterday, Keisel talked about the amusing commercial with reporters.

"Head and Shoulders has done amazing things for my beard," he said. "It's bigger and fuller than ever."

Is it making more plays?

"It is making more plays. It's doing all those things," Keisel said.

Did he ever think it would take on a life of its own?

"No," he said with a pause. "It's the people who took it to the level it's at. It was something that hadn't really been done before in the league, someone growing out a big, lumberjack beard. Now it's got its own life."

Did he copy from San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Brian Wilson?

"No," Keisel shot back quickly. "No, I don't care about baseball really."

So, it doesn't exist?

"It's irrelevant to me," he said with a chuckle. "No, his commercial's good, too. They're both good. Commercials these days are kind of doing the whole reality thing and ours was about the locker room. That's what they wanted us to do the whole time, just kind of act like ourselves, and I think that's what makes it funny."


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