How many people on Sunday evening would have thought that by Wednesday, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph would, at least in some capacity, be back on a practice field and participating in football activities? I’m guessing the number would be relatively small, but here we are.
Rudolph, who has started the past three games since Ben Roethlisberger was placed on the Reserve/Injured List, suffered a concussion that was assumed based on appearances to be significant after being struck in the head on Sunday back Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas. He was unconscious almost instantaneously and subsequently hit his head on the grass as well.
Rudolph remained down for some time, unresponsive for much of it, but ultimately regained consciousness and communicativeness, and was assisted off the field by teammates, walking, rather than being carted off. And he took the practice field yesterday as a limited participant.
“It was great. It was really great”, his backup, Devlin Hodges, told reporters to see him out there. “Mason has been telling me he has been feeling really well. It’s good just to see him. That was a scary situation. A really scary situation. You are talking about knocked out pretty cold. To see him here, moving around and smiling it’s a good sight”.
This report echoes basically everything that we have heard leading up to yesterday, the first practice of the week. While Rudolph was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation, he was released the same day and was allowed to sleep in his own bed that night.
He visited the team facility on Monday to meet with coaches and teammates and appeared to be in good spirits and doing well, and that progress certainly appears to have continued throughout the ensuing days.
By Friday? Who knows. It’s somewhat hard to imagine even still that he will be able to clear the concussion protocol so quickly, simply by recalling the visuals of the hit that he took, but it’s important to keep in mind that a diagnosis by sight is always a questionable proposition, and the severity of a concussion will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Assuming that he is able to clear the protocol, it’s still unlikely that Rudolph would have the opportunity to start on Sunday, simply due to the fact that he is a young player and will have missed an extensive amount of reps during the week of practice, but he could potentially dress as the backup.
But for right now, all of those concerns are secondary. The primary concern is his health, and it’s great to see that he appears to be doing well. If he is able to practice today, then that will be a great sign regarding his recovery, because it will suggest there was no setback following physical exertion from yesterday.