Football

Steelers QB to play injured

Ben Roethlisberger has an unexpected homework assignment during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ bye week: protecting a fractured right thumb.

The Steelers quarterback injured the thumb on his throwing hand sometime during Pittsburgh’s 24-17 win over Cincinnati on Sunday. He’s not sure when it happened, only that he noticed it while coming out for the second half.

“It was hard to determine it on the sideline, but we did all the tests (Monday), and it’s fractured in there,” Roethlisberger said.

Roethlisberger didn’t miss a snap as the Steelers improved to 7-3. He was 7-for-11 passing for 70 yards in the second half, including a perfect 4-for-4 during what turned out to be the winning drive in the third quarter.

“It hurt, but (Steelers head trainer) John Norwig did a great job taping it up, making a quick splint out of tape and going with it,” Roethlisberger said. “Squeezing the ball is the hardest part, but it’s a good thing that I had a glove on it, because that helps gripping it a little bit.”

This isn’t the first time Roethlisberger has played with a busted thumb. He suffered a similar injury in 2005, though it didn’t prevent him from leading the Steelers to their fifth Super Bowl title by beating the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, in Detroit.

There should be no issues this time either, though Roethlisberger will continue to play with a splint. Pittsburgh travels to Kansas City on Nov. 27.

“I won’t have to throw for a week or so, (until) next Wednesday or whenever we practice next week,” Roethlisberger said. “So, that’ll be a good time for it to rest. For me, it’ll just be getting used to throwing with a splint on again and a glove on, which I’ve done before.”

Wide receiver Mike Wallace said he wasn’t aware Roethlisberger was even hurt, though the quarterback work a black brace during a shortened practice Tuesday.

“I didn’t even notice to tell you the truth,” Wallace said.

It’s not unusual for Roethlisberger to play through minor injuries. He suffered a sprained foot in a loss to Houston on Oct. 2 then tied a franchise record with five touchdown passes in a victory over Tennessee.

“That’s just Ben,” Wallace said. “You know that something small isn’t going to slow him down like that.”

FOOT INJURY MIGHT END SCHAUB’S SEASON

Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub hopes he can return this season from a foot injury, though he acknowledges “it doesn’t look good.”

Schaub injured a Lisfranc joint in his right foot in the second quarter of Sunday’s 37-9 win in Tampa Bay. He stayed in the game, but he threw only three passes in the second half.

Coach Gary Kubiak called the injury “significant,” and Schaub said on his weekly radio appearance with KILT-AM on Tuesday that his foot “is not visibly looking too good.” Schaub said he will meet with more doctors over the next week to gather as much information as possible.

Houston (7-3) has a bye this week. Matt Leinart will start the Texans’ next game, at Jacksonville on Nov. 27.

TOMLINSON COULD MISS THURSDAY GAME

LaDainian Tomlinson might have to sit this one out.

The New York Jets running back has a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, and his status for the team’s game Thursday night at Denver was uncertain. But with a quick turnaround after he was injured in the Jets’ 37-16 loss to New England on Sunday, it appeared likely Tomlinson could miss the game.

“If the game was Sunday, I don’t think I’d have a problem playing,” Tomlinson said. “Being that it is a short week, it adds a little more pressure and it is a little more difficult to do. If I don’t play this game, I absolutely will play against Buffalo (on Nov. 27).”

Tomlinson, who is sixth on the NFL’s career rushing list, did not practice Tuesday, but coach Rex Ryan would not rule him out for traveling with the team today or playing Thursday.

EXTRA POINTS

Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield will undergo surgery on his injured clavicle and will miss the rest of the season. The three-time Pro Bowl selection was injured during Sunday’s game against the Packers after missing the previous four games because of a neck injury. … The Redskins placed receiver Leonard Hankerson (hip) and defensive end Kedric Golston (knee) on injured reserve and re-signed receiver Donte’ Stallworth and defensive end Darrion Scott, both of whom were cut last week. … Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz was at a Manhattan club early Tuesday when gunshots were fired, killing one man and injuring two other people. The Giants confirmed that Cruz was there and said that he was unharmed and not involved in the incident. Reports cited police sources who said other NFL and NBA players were at the club at the time of the shooting.

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