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Monday, December 19, 2011
Big Ben expected to play but be limited

By Jamison Hensley


All indications point to Ben Roethlisberger starting for the Steelers on Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers despite being limited with a high ankle sprain.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin told ESPN that he's "optimistic" that Roethlisberger will play. A source told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Roethlisberger is "good enough to go" after Saturday's practice.

So, the next question becomes: What type of game should everyone expect out of Roethlisberger?

The biggest challenge for Roethlisberger will be making deep throws, according to ESPN medical expert Stephania Bell. The soreness in the injured left ankle will make it difficult for him to step into his passes.

"One need look no further than St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford's struggles in last Monday night's game to see how this injury can compromise a signal-caller," Bell wrote.

Bell, though, acknowledged that Roethlisberger has proven that he isn't like a lot of athletes when it comes to playing with injuries.

"He has shown time and again that not only can he play in the presence of injury but he can be effective even when he looks to be moving slowly and awkwardly," she wrote. "He has played through a broken bone in his foot, a broken thumb, and more."

If Roethlisberger can't play, Charlie Batch is expected to replace him at quarterback.