By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — For the second time in his career, it appears that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will have to finish the season with a splint on his thumb and glove on his right hand.
Roethlisberger fractured the thumb on his throwing hand sometime during the first half Sunday at Cincinnati and played the entire second half with it heavily taped. Roethlisberger was 7-for-11 for 70 yards during the second half.
The Steelers (7-3) don’t play again until traveling to Kansas City Nov. 27.
“It was hard to determine it on the sideline, but we did all the tests (Monday),” Roethlisberger said. “And it’s fractured in there. … Luckily, we have the bye week, so I won’t have to throw for a week or so. (That’s) next Wednesday or whenever we practice next week.
“So, that’ll be a good time for it to rest. … It won’t (heal in a week), but we’ll put a splint on it and prepare for the game in Kansas City just like we would if we were playing this week. … For me, it’ll just be getting used to throwing with a splint on again and a glove on, which I’ve done before.”
Roethlisberger referred to the 2005 season when he suffered a similar injury midway through the season, possibly in a Monday Night matchup Nov. 28 at Indianapolis. Roethlisberger had his right hand taped up, played with a glove after that and led the Steelers on a homestretch run into the playoffs and playoff run to win Super Bowl XL.
Roethlisberger injured the hand a couple other times in his career, although information is more sketchy on those occasions, but it’s all about dealing with the pain. And that’s something Roethlisberger has learned to do over the years.
“Just pain-wise in the second half, was tough to deal with,” Roethlisberger said. “It hurt, but (Steelers head trainer) John Norwig did a great job taping it up, making a quick splint out of tape and going with it.
“Squeezing the ball is the hardest part, but it’s a good thing that I had a glove on it because that helps gripping it a little bit. So, we’ll put a splint on it, tape it up again and see what happens after that.”
In the Dec. 4 home game against the Bengals in 2005, the week after the thumb was injured at Indianapolis, Roethlisberger was 29-for41 (70.7 percent) for 386 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. So, he has been successful with a splint and glove on his right hand.
The Steelers lost that game to the Bengals, 38-31, but they turned the corner that season and won their final four games to slip into the final playoff spot. And that’s all they needed to go on a legendary playoff run on the road to win the Super Bowl.
Notes: Linebackers LaMarr Woodley and James Farrior did not practice Tuesday, and they probably won’t return until next week. After Wednesday’s workout, the Steelers must take a mandatory four straight days off — as per the new CBA during a bye week — but they’ll practice Monday to get in an extra day. Take off Tuesday for Coach Mike Tomlin’s press conference and then practice their regular Wednesday through Friday before facing the Chiefs.