Q&A: Ben Roethlisberger

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told a group of reporters he's making 'big progress' but isn't sure where that will lead him by Monday night.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: How are you today?

A: I'm taking it one day at a time. Keep working today and work tomorrow and get ready.

Q: Are you going to try to practice this week?

A: As soon as I can. Yeah, that's the goal, as soon as possible get out there and get as much work as I can.

Q: Is this your first high-ankle sprain? And what's it been like dealing with it?

A: It is. And it's tough. You hear how painful it is and never really quite know what to expect until you get one and it's definitely not a fun thing.

Q: How does it compare with your foot in terms of mobility?

A: It's similar in ways that putting pressure on it hurts, but with this I can't get on my toes, which is kind of important to running and throwing; I can't twist with it. Those kinds of things are the most painful. With the other I can just tape it up and just not move it and I could function with it, but this is a little tougher to deal with.

Q: Is the left foot more important because it's your lead foot?

A: If I had the same injury on my right foot it would be tough. In terms of throwing and planting and rotating on that one, yes, it's difficult.

Q: Is there much treatment-wise for this injury?

A: Well, if you can't do anything for it we're doing a lot of stuff for nothing, because we're in there non-stop. I'm in there early, then at the beginning of practice. It was one of the reasons I couldn't talk to you guys yesterday. It's just non-stop. I'm going in there as soon as we're done today. It's range-of-motion stuff. It's hot tubs, cold tubs, resistance, moving, massages, everything we can possibly do. We got molded today for a cast for an ankle brace to see if that helps. We're doing everything we can. The training staff, John Norwig and those guys, are doing a great job of trying to get [me] back.

Q: Is the brace for the game itself or before the game?

A: Both – for practice and game, to see if it helps out there.

Q: Is your mobility better now than it was in second half vs. the Browns?

A: No, it'd be worse. The second half of that game you were playing off adrenaline, you were playing off emotion. The next couple days after that I just shook my head because I don't know how – I couldn't have done it; I don't know how I did. It's amazing what adrenaline and wanting to be out there for your guys does.

Q: What will be the factors affecting your decision?

A: I don't know if it's my decision. I'm going to do everything I can to be out there. It's probably more on them, so if I'm not out there it'll probably be because they weren't comfortable with me being out there protecting myself, or whatever it is. They know better than I do. I can just tell them whether I think I can go or not, and I think I can go all the time. I'm going to do everything I can to be out there for this team.

Q: Would you be in the shotgun all the time?

A: The good thing is that's Monday and today's only Thursday. I don't know yet. We'll just kind of play it by ear because we don't want to get too crazy with changing anything because we don't know what's going to happen yet.

Q: Is Saturday the key day?

A: That's the way I'm looking at it. Today's Wednesday if you ask me. We've got an extra day, which is a huge plus.

Q: Would one practice day be enough?

A: It would have to be. I've done it before. It's not ideal, and especially against a great defense like this it's definitely not ideal. But if I had to do it I'd do my best.

Q: Considering the times you've played with injury, what's the most painful experience?

A: They've all been pretty painful. This one's just difficult because I can't do it. If it was just a matter of pain I'd be out there, but I'm physically unable to do certain things. I wish I was able to do everything and just have to deal with pain because I can do that. It's just difficult not even being able to get out there.

Q: Sometimes would it be better to just play Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon?

A: I feel very confident with those guys, whoever it might be. I know they can get it done. We've seen it happen in the past. That's a great relief to someone like me, because I know how good those guys are. That said, I want to be out there. I want to be the guy. It's tough.

Q: Are you making progress through the rehab?

A: Yeah, absolutely. I can walk around now without a boot. Not for very far, not very fast, but I can get around without a boot. And it's good because we're trying to get the motion. The masseuse last night really got a lot of the swelling out. It actually looks like an ankle now instead of one big mass of fluid down there. We're definitely making big progress.

Q: Would one of the concerns be that you could re-injure it?

A: I think so. I've tried to exhaust every question in talking to these guys. ‘Could I make it worse or is it just dealing with the pain?' They said ‘obviously you can make it worse' and that's the point of the ankle brace, to prevent that if possible. I'm not going to go out there and worry about making it worse. I'm going to go out there and play if I can. That's the biggest thing for me.

Q: If you play, would you have to get rid of the ball quicker?

A: I suppose I should do that anyway, right? But I can only do so much, I guess.

Q: What's going on with the San Francisco defense?

A: Very good. Front seven is unbelievable. Lot of pressure. They get after the quarterback, which is another thing you have to think about. It's going to be on the road, silent count, they're going to be getting off the ball quicker than we are, which is normal on the road. They get after it. Once again it's another top-ranked defense to go against.

Q: So how's the thumb?

A: Great actually.

Q: When will you attempt to practice?

A: I don't know. We'll see. I don't think today I'll be able to. We'll kind of keep playing it by ear. I'll get out there and see what I can do. See if I can get out there in a tennis shoe and move around a little bit.

Q: Are you out of the walking boot for good?

A: Just for stretches at a time. That's why I asked Doc if I could get out of it. He prefers I stay in it because it can help heal. The more I'm out of it I'm going to want to move it. Movement is good because it gets the fluid going, but I also catch myself every once in a while turning it sideways or doing something that almost puts me to the ground. Certain things we try to avoid.

Q: Is it a plastic brace?

A: Yeah, it's some kind of new thing. We just molded it just a little bit ago. They're sending it to New Jersey to get made. I'm not exactly sure what it's made of. I tell them to do what they've gotta do.

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