Ben Roethlisberger's Broken Nose: Should Steelers QB Keep Playing?

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger broke his nose during a game against the Raven Sunday.
Larry French/Getty Images
Ben Roethlisberger: Too Soon To Play?
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger broke his nose during a game against the Ravens. (Larry French/Getty Images)

(CBS) After getting his bell rung, Big Ben is headed to the repairman.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger broke his nose in Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens, and kept on playing. He was scheduled to undergo surgery today to repair the damage, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

But he'll be back on the field this weekend, according to the paper.

Is Roethlisberger playing fast and loose with his health by playing again so soon?

Could be, said Dr. Patrick Byrne, director of the division of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution in Baltimore.

"We suggest athletes wait a week or two before resuming activities," he told CBS News. "Obviously he may not have that luxury."

If the star quarterback sustains another hit to the honker, said Byrne, he might re-fracture his nose, since it takes about four weeks to fully heal and regain strength.

Repeated fractures can cause difficulty breathing and permanent deformity of the nose.

The good news is that the break probably isn't too bad, according to Byrne, who isn't involved in Roethlisberger's care.

"The fact that they're taking him [to surgery] today suggests his fracture probably does not warrant an extensive procedure," he said.

Procedures to repair nasal fractures can range from a quick 15 minute snap and pop to a four-hour surgery, depending on the severity of the break.

Despite the risks, Roethlisberger is ready for more. You can see the Pittsburgh QB in Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

This toughie takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'.