"Man, I just came up with one heck of a saying by accident: "I don't determine what is news. News determines what news is." - Steelers beat writer Mark Kaboly from his Twitter (@MarkKaboly_Trib) account.
With regards to the Pittsburgh Steelers, that may never be more true than right now. Because we had a completely different schedule of topics set for you heading into Ravens week.
The SC sprain that Big Ben sustained, according to Tomlin, “puts his participation into the questionable category this week.” - http://tinyurl.com/chulce3
In brief, the injury is a stretching or tearing of the ligament connecting the sternum (origin) to the clavicle (insertion). It’s called an "uncommon" injury, and the expected recovery time depends on the severity.
Though Tomlin said he had no knowledge, as Big Ben still has another MRI to undergo, on the degree of the injury, the injury does carry at least an automatic 2-3 week recovery timeframe with it. - http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8627685&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
To verify this, we did some research to get the particulars as to what the injury is and what to expect.
Firstly, I personally turned to Dr. Melanie F., @GirlSurgeon on Twitter, who tweeted this information:
“@Girlsurgeon: Per my sports medicine ortho guy, Ben probably out 2-3 weeks. Good chance to see him play against #Ravens @ BMore. Lucky it's not AC joint.”
Potentially good news as to length and severity. From a sports standpoint, the Steelers are 9-5 all-time when Big Ben doesn't start. Unfortunately, that includes an 0-4 against the Ravens.
Alan Robinson of Total Trib Media in Pittsburgh later tweeted that there was a parallel that fans could look to as a reference:
"@arobinson_Trib: Rams WR Danny Amendola was out 5 weeks this season with SC joint fracture. Just returned Sunday. #steelers"
Dr. Melanie then tweeted this as clarification: "Ben's injury is different from Danny Amendola's. WR had posterior dislocation. Sounds like Ben has sprain, maybe had anterior subluxation.”
It seems more so to be the same injury that forced Brett Favre to end his consecutive games streak before his (final) retirement. Favre returned after missing one game in that situation.
However, to clarify Dr. Melanie's comments even further, below is an in depth description of the injury from ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell, and attached is a medical link for any who want to delve even deeper:
"This joint is reinforced by ligaments. A bony injury to either the sternum or clavicle (anything ranging from a bruise to a break) would make the joint painful. Likewise, ligaments can tear, resulting in a subluxation (slip or partial dislocation) of the sternoclavicular joint, also quite painful. Injuries to this area are often a result of high-speed motor vehicle accidents where the seatbelt restraint creates stress across the joint, or, if you happen to play football, high-impact collisions to the front of the chest or the shoulder can do the same.
"The injury here is compounded by the fact that it is nearly impossible to immobilize the SC joint directly; the best solution is to limit shoulder motion on the same side, via sling, to keep arm movements from affecting the joint." - http://www.orthogate.org/patient-education/shoulder/sternoclavicular-joint-problems.html
Regardless, this is just more bad news for a Steelers team already playing without Antonio Brown, Rashard Mendenhall and Marcus Gilbert on offense. Not to mention first-round draft pick David DeCastro. Not counting DeCastro, that's one-third of the first-team offense.
It raises the question as to whether the Steelers' playoff chances are too greatly affected as well. Several media sources and fans are already throwing dirt on the Steelers season with the approximate four weeks the team will be without its two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback. - http://tinyurl.com/c6uat4z
If Big Ben is out for an extended period, Byron Leftwich would be the interim starter.
Leftwich has taken 50 snaps in 45 games since returning to the Steelers in 2010, with 32 of them coming in the Monday night game against the Chiefs. He has played in one game, Monday, in 22 months and has one other start in the last three years.
On a lighter note...
The Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers' hated rival and next opponent, re-signed former Oregon Ducks quarterback Dennis Dixon. (He may have worn the Black and Gold, but he went from Heaven straight to Hell-timore and is therefore dead to me. Thus, he is only the former Oregon Duck quarterback.)
When the Ravens saw what happened to Big Ben they obviously said, "Aaargh! Call Dennis and sign him back!"
So, to the Ravens I simply say, in the immortal words of Ice Cube, "You scared! You scared! You scared, mutha f@&%#er! You scared!" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llJLigihMyw
Ravens' week. 'Nuff said.