For the first time, QB Ben Roethlisberger opened up about the specifics of his 2019 season-ending elbow surgery. During his Zoom call with the media, he said he tore three of the five flexor tendons in his elbow.
Ben Roethlisberger: "There's no real name for it, it's not Tommy John. Tehre are flexor tendons attached to your elbow. I tore three of them (of the five)."
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) August 4, 2020
As Bouchette’s tweet notes, Roethlisberger refuted rumors that he had Tommy John surgery. Until today, the organization had been tight-lipped about the specific nature of Roethlisberger’s injury. But we finally have our answer.
Our Dr. Melanie Friedlander suspected this was the injury as she’s tweeted about and discussed with us on a recent episode of The Terrible Podcast.
To this day, the Steelers have never confirmed Roethlisberger's exact injury or what procedure he had (just that it wasn't Tommy John surgery).
Based on his symptoms, a lot of ortho docs I've spoken to suspect it was a flexor muscle tear that was repaired.
— Melanie Friedlander (@Girlsurgeon) December 23, 2019
A torn flexor tendon is the same injury Terry Bradshaw suffered late in his NFL career. Of course, surgeries and rehab have come a long way since then and Roethlisberger said he’s had no setbacks during his rehab.
Ben Roethlisberger said he's had no setbacks in his throwing program. "It feels really, really good."
— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 4, 2020
Roethlisberger confirmed to reporters he always had some level of pain in his elbow but it reached a breaking point against the Seattle Seahawks.
“I’ve had a little bit of an injury in that elbow for quite a few years,” he said during the call via Chris Adamski. “Just something I dealt with. Never serious enough to do anything with. Specifically on the drive in Seattle, the pain wasn’t going away. I threw one deep one to JuJu down the right side and I really felt a different pain and different discomfort than I ever felt. And it was shooting down my arm. I knew something was different at that moment.”
After throwing at Heinz Field yesterday, Roethlisberger said his arm felt good this morning, a positive sign as he continues his rehab and recovery. As the team has indicated throughout the offseason, there’s every reason to expect #7 will be the team’s starter a month from now when they take on the Giants to open the season.