Roethlisberger’s status up in air for next game

NFL NOTEBOOK: Steelers quarterback has sprained shoulder, still ‘being evaluated’

McClatchy news servicesNovember 14, 2012 

Ben Roethlisberger left Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field on Monday night with his sprained right shoulder in a sling. When he walks back in ready to play is anybody’s guess.

Tomlin called Pittsburgh’s quarterback “questionable” but otherwise offered little detail Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Roethlisberger was pounded into the ground by Kansas City Chiefs linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston during the third quarter of Pittsburgh’s 16-13 overtime victory.

“He is being evaluated,” Tomlin said. “Obviously this injury puts his participation in the questionable category for this week.”

Roethlisberger left the game and went to the hospital for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam. He underwent more tests Tuesday to determine the severity of the sprain to the sternoclavicular joint in his throwing shoulder.

The SC joint connects the collarbone to the sternum. Treatment can range from a few days of rest and ice to as much as six weeks, according to Dr. Victor Khabie, chief of sports medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

“You could tape it, you could do that stuff, but the reality is, those ligaments just have to heal,” Khabie said. “If you go throwing, you slow down the healing process.”

If Roethlisberger can’t play, the Steelers (6-3) will turn to veteran backup Byron Leftwich, who completed 7 of 14 passes for 73 yards in relief as Pittsburgh won its fourth straight game thanks to Shaun Suisham’s 23-yard field goal 51 seconds into the extra period.

The 32-year-old Leftwich hasn’t started a game since 2009, when he went 0-3 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His last victory as a starter came on Oct. 8, 2006, when the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the New York Jets, 41-0.

49ERS’ SMITH SEEKS SECOND OPINION

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith reportedly is seeking a second medical opinion on the concussion that forced him from the 49ers’ tie with the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

Smith, following league-mandated protocol, met Monday with a neurologist independent of the team.

If Smith is not medically cleared to play Monday against the Chicago Bears, second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick would make his first career start for the 49ers.

Smith’s last reported concussion came in last season’s home-opening loss against Dallas. Smith didn’t experience symptoms from that concussion until after playing in that entire overtime loss. He did not miss any practice time the following week before the 49ers won at Cincinnati.

Smith has started the past 28 games, including both of last season’s playoff games.

BEARS ADD BACKUP

The Chicago Bears signed veteran backup quarterback Josh McCown with starter Jay Cutler’s status for this week uncertain.

Cutler sat out the second half of Sunday’s loss to Houston because of a concussion. Jason Campbell took over and is expected to start Monday at San Francisco if Cutler can’t go. But the Bears needed a backup for Campbell.

McCown appeared in three games with Chicago last season and made two starts, completing 35 of 55 passes for 414 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.

EXTRA POINTS

A grand jury in Houston dismissed a misdemeanor resisting-arrest charge against Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Derek Hollingsworth, one of Peterson’s attorneys, said the case stemming from Peterson’s July 7 arrest outside a nightclub is expected to be formally dropped today. … The Broncos waived safety Duke Ihenacho, opening a roster spot that could be filled by linebacker D.J. Williams, who had been suspended by the NFL for the first nine games of the season. … Buccaneers linebacker Quincy Black will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his neck while making a tackle Sunday. He is expected to recover. … Linebacker Aaron Maybin was waived by the Jets, a season after he led the team with six sacks. … The Falcons placed tight end Tommy Gallarda on injured reserve and signed wide receiver Tim Toone and tight end Chase Coffman.

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