Sports Outside the Beltway

Roethlisberger Medically Cleared to Play: Polamalu Questionable

Ben Roethlisberger is medically cleared to play. It appears the decision to play is up to him.

The ball is in Ben Roethlisberger’s lap.

Cleared medically 10 days after his appendectomy, Roethlisberger will start at quarterback for the Steelers Monday night in Jacksonville provided he feels up to it and he can perform properly in practice this week, starting today.

Well, that’s good. It all depends on how well he plays. I want the starter in against Jacksonville, who has been a thorn in the Steeler’s side the past few years. I think Roethlisberger will play unless he feels really sick, and he didn’t look that bad last Thursday.

However, I think that this could be a bigger loss than Roethlisberger: Troy Polamalu is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Cowher said yesterday he did not know how Polamalu’s shoulder was injured and provided no more details. He said Thursday night that the injury occurred in the first half.

I hope that heals up. Polamalu is the heart and soul of that defense. He makes plays that no one else even appears to be thinking about. He has a sense of where the ball is going to be, and ends up beating it there, either to make the hit, or to pick it off. Polamalu personifies the position “free safety”. That defense will not be the same without him.

Of course, he did go back into the game with that injury, but I understand that they want to look at it further to make sure that it doesn’t turn into something ugly later in the season. I will feel a lot better with Polamalu in there, though.

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