A video surfaced yesterday on the Pittsburgh Steelers Twitter page, of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a football for the first time since week two against the Seattle Seahawks on September 15th, 2019. Considering that had originally planned to start throwing small objects following his doctor's consultation on February 21st, his latest video gave us documented proof that he is well ahead of schedule.
For more insight on the nature of Roethlisberger's elbow injury and the potential timeframe for return to action, we turned to Physician Dr. Obi Anozie.
Details On Ben Roethlisberger's Elbow Injury
The specific injury details regarding Big Ben's right elbow haven't been so forthcoming which would only lead us to speculate. What also makes things a bit more confounding is the nature of the injury itself, non-contact. The elbow joint is a unique structure with 3 key bony components, the Humerus, Ulna and Radius.
It offers a wide range of motion with regards to bending, twisting and rotating, movements which could prove to be invaluable for certain types of athletes. The bones of the elbow joint are connected by two ligaments, RCL and UCL, which prevent them from dislocating.
Between the two of them, injury to the ulnar collateral ligament is the most frequently implicated and also quite common in athletes who perform repetitive throwing motions (pitches, quarterbacks etc...). Injuries range from minor sprains to outright full on tears; in baseball players they've often had to undergo "Tommy John" surgery for this for which recovery time is typically over a year despite one's age.
The Probability Of Return For Week 1
We don't know the severity of his injuries as the details have been quite scarce, however, given he had surgery for this one could only speculate it was fairly significant. We don't exactly know what he had done, Tommy John surgery? If so I highly doubt he's back in time for week one instead I'd say at least week 6 or beyond. Here's the kicker, ligaments have a terrible blood supply so real damage always involves some sort of reconstruction/repair, in that case I'd say at least 12 months.
How His Age Could Be A Factor In Recovery Time
In short, I don't think his age will be an issue here, but I doubt he makes it back in time for week one and I suspect he'll lose a little zip on those with tight coverage as well as on the deep ball.
*Dr. Obi Anozie is a Physician in Macon, Georgia. Dr. Anozie studied at St. George's University School of Medicine, and was a resident physician at Upstate Medical University.