Ben Roethlisberger improving

Updated: December 4, 2012, 2:02 PM ET
By Ed Werder | ESPN

Ben Roethlisberger is determined to do everything possible to return after missing three starts with rib and shoulder injuries.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback has been working to improve his strength and range of motion as the soreness in his shoulder and chest have diminished, according to a source.

Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff will determine over the course of the week whether Roethlisberger returns from a three-week absence.

Roethlisberger will attempt to demonstrate to the coaching staff that he's capable of making all of the required throws, something he failed to accomplish last week.

It seems practices Wednesday and Thursday will determine his readiness, and then everyone in the organization will be holding their breath the first time he takes a hit.

At his weekly news conference Tuesday, Tomlin said Roethlisberger will be given an opportunity this week to prove he's healthy.

"Ben is getting closer to healthy. He threw (Monday) and I guess it could be described as successfully," Tomlin said. "We'll see what it looks like on the football field (Wednesday). He will be given an opportunity to prove that he is healthy and we will let that progress go from there."

However, like last week, the team is proceeding with Charlie Batch as the starter for now. 

"In the meanwhile Charlie is our guy and we'll prepare and plan with that in mind just like we did a week ago. We will continue to give Brian (Hoyer) some work if we can. The reps that we give Ben will primarily come from Brian," Tomlin said. "There won't be many opportunities for Byron (Leftwich) to prove that he is getting healthy even though he is."

Batch has started the Steelers' past two games after Leftwich was injured in the first game Roethlisberger missed. Last Sunday, the 15-year veteran went 25-for-36 for 276 yards, threw a touchdown and rallied the Steelers in a must-win game against the Ravens, their hated division rivals.

Tomlin also said cornerback Ike Taylor fractured his ankle against the Ravens and likely will be out at least two weeks, ending his consecutive games streak at 135. The starting job goes to second-year defensive back Cortez Allen, who replaced Taylor in the game against Baltimore, will start Sunday.

The Steelers (7-5) host the Chargers (4-8) on Sunday.

Information from ESPN.com AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Ed Werder

ESPN NFL Insider