Mike Tomlin: Ben Roethlisberger has shoulder sprain


The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for life -- or at least a few games -- without Ben Roethlisberger.

NFL.com and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday the organization is bracing itself for a serious injury to the quarterback's right shoulder, according to someone briefed on the situation. The team is awaiting Tuesday's MRI results.

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The original word on Roethlisberger's injury was that it was a sprain. NFL.com and NFL Network's Albert Breer reported Tuesday that doctors still lack clarity on the extent of the injury, according to a club source and a second source briefed on the situation. Roethlisberger remains in a considerable amount of pain.

Coaches haven't been informed about Big Ben's status for Sunday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens, but the expectation is that backup Byron Leftwich will possibly start Sunday night and could be in line to play multiple games, Rapoport reported.

A team source told Breer coaches were told it "might be tough this week" for Roethlisberger to play, but even that is "not for sure." Until doctors give the word, even Roethlisberger is unclear about his status for Baltimore.

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Roethlisberger was injured during the third quarter of Monday night's 16-13 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. He was taken to a local hospital after landing on his throwing shoulder on a sack by Chiefs defenders Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.

The 6-3 Steelers sit one game behind the 7-2 Ravens in the AFC North. Monday night's injury to Roethlisberger could shake up that race considerably. Without their elite quarterback under center, this isn't remotely the same offense in Pittsburgh.

UPDATE: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Tuesday that Roethlisberger has a sprained shoulder, more specifically a Sternoclavicular joint injury. Tomlin said Roethlisberger currently is questionable for Sunday's game.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.