By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had surgery on his right knee Wednesday after suffering from some discomfort during the first few weeks of organized team activities.
Roethlisberger went through the opening seven practice sessions this spring, but missed Wednesday’s workout. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin commented on the surgery in a released statement.
“Earlier today, Ben had minor surgery on his right knee that was the result of slight discomfort this offseason,” Tomlin said. “We advised him to get the surgery done to ensure he will be completely healthy for the start of training camp. This surgery will have no long-term effects on his health.”
While the specifics of the surgery are unknown, it could be similar to one the quarterback had during his second season in the NFL. Roethlisberger first injured his right knee in an Oct. 10 game at San Diego, and he missed the ensuing game home game against Jacksonville.
Roethlisberger returned to play against in an Oct. 23 game at Cincinnati and Monday night home game with Baltimore. However, he re-injured the knee against the Ravens during that Oct. 31 contest and eventually had arthroscopic surgery in early November to remove a piece of cartilage in his right knee. He missed the next three games — Nov. 6 at Green Bay, Nov. 13 versus Cleveland and Nov. 20, a Monday night contest, at Baltimore.
Roethlisberger returned to face the Colts in a Nov. 28 Monday night matchup at Indianapolis. The Steelers lost in overtime the week before against the Ravens and also dropped the game to the Colts and again the next week to Cincinnati at home. However, Roethlisberger and the Steelers rallied to win their final four regular-season games to qualify for the AFC playoffs as the No. 6 seed. They also won three playoff games, all on the road, and captured the franchise’s fifth Lombardi Trophy by beating Seattle in Super Bowl XL at Detroit.
Roethlisberger has had a myriad of injuries during his career, but has missed just 17 games during his previous nine seasons. He missed one as a rookie, sitting out the last game to rest for the playoffs, and the four in 2005. He missed one each in 2006, ’07 and ’09, but played all 16 games in 2008. Roethlisberger was suspended for the opening four games in 2010 and missed one game in 2011. He played in 13 games last season.
After the current surgery, Roethlisberger will miss the club’s final OTA Thursday and next week’s three-day mini-camp, but he is expected to be ready for training camp in late July.
The Steelers are scheduled to practice at Heinz Field Thursday, but that could change depending on the thunderstorm that is predicted to drop more than two inches of rain on the region.