Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can't play until his rare rib injury heals because there's a risk of it being life-threatining. Doctors are worried if the rib gets jostled before it heals it can cause internal bleeding.
Roethlisberger was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Ravens just one day after coach Mike Tomlin said the franchise's all-time leading passer was questionable with a sprained right shoulder. The dislocated rib is the bigger concern right now.
"That's the more scary part because I guess if it goes in the wrong direction it could puncture the aorta," Roethlisberger told reporters Wednesday.
Roethlisberger is out indefinitely, but he doesn't believe the injuries will end his season.
"I don't think so, I don't know, though, but I'm not a medical expert," Roethlisberger said. "I just know I'm going to do what I can to get back."
The Steelers have seven games remaining in the regular season, including five in the AFC North. They only have two games remaining against a team with a winning record and both of those are against the Ravens.
Pittsburgh (6-3) currently has a two-game lead for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC.
Roethlisberger said doctors told him the injury is so rare in athletes that the last one they knew about was a rugby player in 1998. The quarterback added the pain level is "nine on a scale of 1-10."