Ben improving, but Batch still starter

December 4, 2012 by Teresa Varley

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury that has forced him to miss the last three games. Roethlisberger is expected to get more work in practice on Wednesday than he has since the injury,  and how he performs could indicate if he will be available this week.

“Ben is getting closer to healthy,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “He threw (Monday) and I guess it could be described as successfully. 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.”

Tomlin said that at this point Charlie Batch will be the starter this Sunday when the Steelers host the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field. Batch started the last two games, leading the team to a gutsy win on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

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

“We’ll focus on the two healthy quarterbacks and the one guy who is trying to prove his health in Ben. We’ll see where the week takes us, particularly tomorrow. Once we get out there tomorrow it will provide some clarity for us and we will be able to make firm decisions. As we sit here today and put together a game plan we are doing so in the same manner we did a week ago in that Charlie is our guy and we our building our plan around what he is capable of and we’ll see what Ben can prove to us in the early part of the week from a health standpoint.”

Tackle Mike Adams (ankle) will be out this week, as will cornerback Ike Taylor, who could miss several weeks with a fractured right ankle. Cortez Allen will start in his place and Curtis Brown will play in sub-packages.

Guard Willie Colon missed the last two games with a knee injury, but he is expected to return against the Chargers, although he will be limited in practice in the early parts of the week.

Also on the injury front fullback Will Johnson suffered a concussion against the Ravens, but is going through the battery of tests needed and has done well according to Tomlin who expects him to play. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders suffered an AC shoulder sprain against the Ravens while Mike Wallace has inflammation in his right knee from jamming it, and while both could be limited in practice early in the week, they are expected to play.

(Check back for more injury news)

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