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Roethlisberger Healing Faster Than Expected


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Roethlisberger healing faster than expected



Saturday, July 01, 2006

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Ben Roethlisberger is healing faster and looking better than expected and is scheduled to start throwing next week for the first time since he was injured in a motorcycle accident, two sources who are familiar with his situation said.


Mr. Roethlisberger made another appearance at the Steelers' offices on the South Side this week -- his second since his accident June 5 -- but he has done nothing more than pick up mail and other items.


That, though, is expected to change sometime next week when he will attempt to throw light passes to test his strength, awareness and stability -- his biggest step to date on his road to recovery.


However, despite his improving condition, the Steelers are going to be extra careful with Mr. Roethlisberger and will not try to rush him back into the lineup, one of the sources said.


The reason: The amount of head and facial trauma Mr. Roethlisberger received in the accident, the source said.


While Mr. Roethlisberger is expected to be ready for the start of training camp July 28 and could conceivably be healthy enough to play in the second or third preseason game, Coach Bill Cowher and the team's medical staff will closely monitor his condition and not play him until they are convinced he is ready to go.

The Steelers are prepared to keep Mr. Roethlisberger on the sidelines, even for the Sept. 7 season opener against the Miami Dolphins, until they are absolutely certain he can absorb hits to the head and function as he did last season.


Mr. Cowher always preaches about the big picture, and that's what he will do with Mr. Roethlisberger -- not play him for a regular-season game or two, even more if necessary, to protect the long-term health of his franchise quarterback


However, both sources said there are no plans for Mr. Roethlisberger to wear any special helmet or headgear when he returns to the field, despite the fractures and injuries he received to the facial area when the motorcycle he was riding crashed into a car on Second Avenue at the 10th Street Bridge intersection last month. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.


Mr. Roethlisberger's upper jaw and lower jaw were broken in four places. His nose and orbital bone also were broken, and he had a nine-inch laceration in the back of his head.


It is not uncommon for people with orbital-bone injuries to suffer blurred or double vision, but Mr. Roethlisberger has not experienced either since his accident, both sources said.


One of the keys to Mr. Roethlisberger's improving condition is that doctors used five titanium plates to hold his jaw in place, rather than wiring the jaw shut. That has allowed him to eat a lot of soft foods, including potatoes, and maintain his weight and strength during his recovery.

As of last week, Mr. Roethlisberger's weight was nearly the same as his playing weight last season -- 242 pounds

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