When will Ben be back?
The reports of Ben’s demise, or return, are getting a bit out of control.
I realize everyone is in a panic, and with the Steelers having a bye week, there’s 7 additional days to create more news where there is none.
When the news came out, the Steelers had not practiced since Wednesday, with only two practices during the bye. That’s a lot of time for players to heal up, including Ben Roethlisberger, who’s status for Sunday is still up in the air.
However, that didn’t stop a wide range of reports from leaking out on Sunday:
Ben Roethlisberger (knee) no sure thing for next Sunday at Balt. "I would guess,” one source said Thursday, “we’re still a few weeks out.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 30, 2016
— KDKA (@CBSPittsburgh) October 30, 2016
Holy “all over the board” Batman!
As stated in previous articles by our own medical professional Terry Fletcher, Ben’s recovery time for a Partial Meniscectomy is 2-4 weeks, as compared to 3 months or more for a full repair.
The Baltimore Ravens game on Sunday would mark 20 days of recovery time since Roethlisberger had the procedure. It’s reported that Ben ran some hurry-up and 7-on-7 drills in today’s practice.
Le'Veon Bell said Ben Roethlisberger ran one session of hurry-up offense and 7 on 7s today. @pasports
— Jacob Klinger (@Jacob_Klinger_) October 31, 2016
Since the Steelers do not resume practice until Wednesday, the reports which went out over the weekend are mind-boggling guess work at best.
First, Adam Schefter’s report, which coincides with other guesses by the likes of NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, is the most puzzling: the “source” Schefter is reporting, is from last Thursday, a day after Steelers practices ended for the week; practices in which Ben was seen throwing and moving around, but not participating in full.
Waiting a few days to report on something isn’t uncommon, as some reporters are required to corroborate from two sources before releasing information. However, this rarely applies to the social media world we live in today, where “insiders” aim to be the first in line, rather than accurate, with their information.
I’m not trying to throw shade at Schefter and others, but with the Steelers having several more days off before the time of his tweet, the timing is awkward. If it were credible, the news should’ve been reported days earlier, as Ben’s condition could improve days later.
Furthermore, CBS Sports Jason La Canfora releases information contradicting Shefter’s news the same day:
“Team officials anticipate quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will participate in drills and be ready to face the Ravens in Week 9… the team’s doctors expected two-to-three weeks of recovery time, and he is on schedule for that time frame.
Initial reports for a four-to-six week absence were not accurate.”
This has caused a panic across Steelers Nation, many who want to know when Ben will be back.
I can totally sympathize: as a writer, and reporting on these sources, it’s been absolutely maddening to have to counter the “4-6 week” and “Ben’s not ready” news, when our own expert was able to diagnose a maximum 4 weeks of recovery time.
Yet, none of us can be certain of when Ben will return. We are also making our own estimation as to when Ben will be ready, basing our educated guess on past recovery windows, Roethlisberger’s resilience, and medical analysis of similar injuries.
It is our estimate that we should expect the QB on the field as early as this Sunday, depending on Ben’s involvement in practice this week. The Steelers will practice Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, before traveling to Baltimore on Sunday.
Ben noted on his weekly radio show that he would like to practice, in order to play on Sunday. How many practices, and the level of his involvement, will dictate whether or not Ben will play against the Ravens.
However, to make a quick judgment as to whether or not Ben is 100% available or unavailable, cannot be determined at this time.
The only trustworthy source would be head coach Mike Tomlin, who will host his weekly press conference on Tuesday. Tomlin may, or may not, give a glimpse as to whether he expects Ben to be available. Oftentimes Tomlin will reserve comments on player availability, but in previous pressers, Tomlin has ruled out players (such as Cameron Heyward) far in advance of when he would have to.
If Tomlin does not rule Ben out on Tuesday, that should give us an indication that the Steelers will proceed with trying to prep for Ben to play this weekend, even if it’s a game time decision.
At this time, that’s the best news we can hope for, outside of a “full participant” designation for Roethlisberger, coming out of practices later this week.