Roethlisberger upgraded to fair condition

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's condition was upgraded from serious-but-stable to fair late Tuesday afternoon, and one newspaper in town reports he'll be able to play in the opener against the Miami Dolphins.

Dr. Larry Jones on Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers:

"Since our last update at 10 o'clock last night, Mr. Roethlisberger was transferred from the recovery room to a unit at Mercy Hospital that will not be disclosed. He is awake. He's alert. He's oriented. And he is resting with his family at his side. We have officially upgraded his condition from serious-but-stable to fair. This upgrade means that Mr. Roethlisberger's vital signs are stable and that his recovery is progressing as expected. If all goes as planned, Mr. Roethlisberger could be releasesd from the hospital in the next three to five days.

"As you heard in our last briefing, Mr. Roethlisberger underwent approximately seven hours of surgery for multiple facial fractures. All of his injuries were successfully repaired by a team of four Mercy Hospital surgeons.

"Since our last update, Mr. Roethlisberger's family has permitted us to release a list of his injuries, and they are as follows: fractures to his upper and lower jaws; a mild concussion; a fractured nose; fractured facial bones; multiple head lacerations; multiple abrasions and contusions; he has lost two teeth and he has chipped several other teeth. There is no evidence of any major structural damage to either of his knees. Mr. Roethlisberger's C.T. scan of the brain shows no injury and our continued observation shows that his brain is functioning normally."

In Wednesday's edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dr. Guy Stofman, Mercy Hospital's chief of plastic surgery, said that the surgical team "did a beautiful job putting him back together."

Stofman told the paper that Roethlisberger will be on a soft-food diet for four to six weeks and will need to avoid "high-velocity contact" for seven to eight weeks. The doctor said that Roethlisberger could being working out in weeks.

The Post-Gazette also reported that the team believes Roethlisberger will be ready for the opener Sept. 7.

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