Roethlisberger looking toward Baltimore

PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger can't straighten his right leg, nor can he walk without a noticeable limp, so he agreed that Steelers coach Bill Cowher made the right call in ruling him out of Sunday night's game against the Cleveland Browns.

So, will the Steelers' quarterback – the top-ranked passer in the NFL -- return the following week against the Baltimore Ravens?

Roethlisberger isn't sure.

"We're going to go day-by-day," he said. "My goal is to try and get out and see what I can do this week. I've been on the bike and riding it slowly. If I can get to riding the bike faster at the end of the week, and maybe try and get out there and run around a little bit next week, if I can do that, then we'll make a shot for Baltimore. If not, we'll see how Indy goes (the following week)."

Roethlisberger, of course, underwent arthroscopic surgery last Thursday to repair damage to the lateral meniscus cartilage in his right knee. He didn't want to undergo surgery, but is now happy he did, even if it means missing two or three games.

"It was tough," he said. "It was one of those things where my knee actually felt better that week, and then coach called me and said, ‘Let's just get it over with. Let's do it because who knows when or what game it could get bad again.' It was tough but looking back on it I'm glad we got it out of the way.

"I didn't want to miss any games. That was the big thing for me: I didn't want to miss any games for these guys. I'd been playing through the pain so far and I figured I could keep doing it, keep playing with these guys and try to make a playoff run, but coach and myself and the doctor sat down and we really talked about it. I thought long and hard about it and thought, you know, the best time is to do it now.

"I wasn't real concerned with hurting it and making myself worse. I was more worried about maybe later on in the season making it worse and I wouldn't be there for the playoffs. So the thing was, let's not wait for the end of the season; let's get it over with now so I'll definitely be there for the playoffs."

Roethlisberger was on crutches throughout the weekend and watched his teammates beat the Green Bay Packers at home on TV with two friends. He called that the most difficult part of the week, but he's off the crutches and riding a stationary bike and walking in water. Trainers are working specifically on regaining his range of motion.

"I'm doing OK," Roethlisberger said. "I just got off the crutches for the first time (Tuesday) so it feels good to get up and walk around a little bit. I feel like a normal human being again."

Roethlisberger hurt the knee in the season opener and aggravated the injury in the seventh game on Halloween night. He was asked if the surgery would alleviate the problem for good.

"I'm not a doctor, but from what they told me once it's better my knee should feel a lot better than it ever did. From the first game on it was very painful. I was just playing through the pain. They say I shouldn't feel any pain now so hopefully I'll be able to play with no pain in my knee for the first time in a long time."

And will that occur in Baltimore next Sunday?

"I don't know," he said. "I'm not going to say, yes, I'm playing this game, or, no, I'm not. We're just going to go one day at a time and hope we continue to feel better day by day."


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