The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the New England Patriots this coming Sunday and despite him suffering a rib injury against the Oakland Raiders this past weekend, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to be able to play in that contest.
“As we push into this week, Ben, obviously we got him evaluated when we got back [from Oakland]. He has a rib or several rib contusions,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday. “That will be addressed throughout the week. We anticipate him being available to us. Pain management through the week will probably be the storyline in terms of what he’s able to do from a physical preparation standpoint. But again, Ben has played a lot of football and we’ve been in this situation with him a lot. So, we’ll walk that tight rope and go into the stadium with no excuses there.”
Roethlisberger also confirmed during his Tuesday morning interview on 93.7 The Fan that while he is still sore from the sack he took on Sunday in Oakland, he expects to play this coming weekend against the Patriots.
As for the other Steelers players who enter this week currently dealing with injuries, running back James Conner and tackle Marcus Gilbert, Tomlin also updated the status of both on Tuesday during his press conference.
“Some of the older injuries. James Conner with his ankle, he had a really impressive a week last week,” Tomlin said. “We’ll see what this week holds and obviously his availability will be abased on first, his health, and then his preparedness. So, we’ll see his availability throughout the course of the week and let his availability and then the quality of that be our guide.”
Conner sat out the Steelers Sunday game against the Raiders with an ankle sprain he had suffered the previous Sunday. Tomlin was later asked during his Tuesday press conference if the most-recent evaluation of Conner’s ankle perhaps shed any light on the running back’s potential availability for the Sunday game against the Patriots.
“Again, I don’t have that information,” Tomlin said. “He’s still in the building today. I’m sure he’s got a big workup today in preparation for what maybe lies ahead tomorrow.”
Tomlin then gave a vague update again on Gilbert, who has missed the team’s last seven games with a knee injury.
“Same for Marcus Gilbert. I hadn’t checked in with him, I think he’s downstairs as we speak getting a workout in today,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin was later asked on Tuesday if Gilbert would automatically go back into the starting lineup if he’s cleared to return to action this coming weekend.
“Again, it depends on what he looks like,” Tomlin said. “First, he’s got to get medical clearance and then we base it on his performance. So, it’s availability and performance and that’s not exclusive to him. It’s the same for James Conner, or anybody else that we’ve kind of talked about in this capacity. That’s why I’m thoughtful about the words that I say every week. We’ll let his availability be our guide and then the quality of his work within that availability.”
According to Tomlin on Tuesday, the Steelers might have another player or two that he didn’t mention show up on the team’s Wednesday injury report due to minor ailments suffered in the team’s loss to the Raiders.
“Some other bumps and bruises associated with play, we’ll sort through those things as we get into our work week,” Tomlin said.