According to SI.com, Roethlisberger said his fractured ribs didn't show up on X-rays taken before he led the Steelers to a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Feb. 1, but were revealed only during an MRI test he had last week.
"Luckily, in the game, I didn't take any big hits to make 'em hurt," Roethlisberger told SI.com. "But I knew all along there was something wrong. There wouldn't have been anything that could have been done about fractured ribs anyway. It was just suck it up and play."
Roethlisberger didn't miss any practices before the Super Bowl, although a pool report from the Wednesday practice said he attempted to stretch his torso during the middle of the workout. Roethlisberger missed one practice during the off week before the Super Bowl because of what the team said was a back injury.
"There's not a whole lot to say," Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett said Monday when asked about the SI.com report. "Ben was fine to go. He was cleared to play. He didn't miss any (practice) time. There was no doubt he was going to play."
The Steelers said it would have been difficult for Roethlisberger to play any better than he did in leading the decisive 78-yard drive (watch it here) that ended with a precisely thrown 6-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds remaining. Several plays before, Roethlisberger -- leading his sixth game-winning drive of the season -- hit Holmes on a 40-yard completion.
Roethlisberger didn't mention any possible injury during post-game interviews.
NFL teams don't routinely require players to undergo MRI or other medical tests during the offseason, and Roethlisberger isn't due back in Pittsburgh until offseason workouts begin in April. By then, any problem that occurred before or during the Super Bowl might not show up in tests.
Injuries have been a tricky subject for Roethlisberger during his five-season career.
After Cowher resigned following the 2006 season, Roethlisberger acknowledged that he and the coach didn't always get along -- in part, apparently, because Cowher believed the quarterback exaggerated the extent of injuries.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press