Doctors: Steelers QB May Play In '06

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dives in for a one-yard touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter of play at the Super Bowl XL football game, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006, in Detroit. AP

Ben Roethlisberger has a lot more to worry about than playing quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Roethlisberger was in serious but stable condition after breaking his jaw and nose in a motorcycle crash Monday.

Alison Morris of CBS affiliate KDKA reports that sources say Roethlisberger also lost teeth, suffered lacerations to the front and back of his head, and sprained his knees, but those knee injuries were not serious.

Roethlisberger, at 23 the youngest quarterback to lead a team to the Super Bowl championship, was taken to Pittsburgh's Mercy Hospital, where he underwent seven hours of surgery.

Doctors expect that Roethlisberger could be out of the hospital as soon as the next several days and they believe he still has a strong chance of playing for the Steelers this fall, reports Morris.

"This 24-hour period following his accident will be the key to understanding just how quickly he will be able to recover," Morris said.

Dr. Harry Sell, chairman of the hospital's surgery department, told reporters that four doctors operated on Roethlisberger for multiple facial fractures and that "all of the fractures were successfully repaired."

Doctors were not aware of any other serious injuries, but said Roethlisberger remained in serious but stable condition, according to Dr. Daniel Pituch, who led the team of doctors caring for the star player, a Findlay, Ohio, native who played college football at Miami of Ohio.

"His brain, spine, chest and abdomen appear to be without serious injury and there are no other confirmed injuries at this time," he said.

The hospital's chief of trauma, Dr. Larry Jones, said earlier that Roethlisberger "was talking to me before he left for the operating room."

"He's coherent," Jones said. "He's making sense. He knows what happened. He knows where he is. From that standpoint, he's very stable."

Team president Art Rooney II said the team was "encouraged by the early reports from the medical team" at the hospital.

"I am sure Ben knows that we are praying for his complete recovery," he said.

The now 24-year-old Roethlisberger wasn't wearing a helmet, Pittsburgh police said. He has said he likes to ride without one, a habit that once prompted a lecture from Cowher.

  • Joel Roberts

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