Hines Ward Shines While Big Ben Whines

In an offseason which will probably be fairly quiet until the draft in April, there’s been some recent injury news which should be of interest to fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In injury report #1, star WR Hines Ward underwent minor surgery to “clean up” some issues with his right shoulder.  Yes, you read that correctly.  His shoulder, not his knee.  Evidently the sprained MCL which he suffered in the AFC Championship beatdown of the Ravens will heal just fine on its own.  Which is actually not that surprising because other Steelers have had a similar injury and came back to play later in the same season without going under the knife.  Troy Polamalu and Willie Parker both suffered MCL sprains the past couple years and both returned after 6-8 weeks of rest.

Nevertheless, Hines deserves some sort of Iron Man Medal of Valor for trying to play in the Super Bowl.  If you remember the injuries to those other players, they needed every bit of two months or so to come back.  That he tried to play only 2 weeks after injuring it speaks volumes about the guy’s courage.  Sure he didn’t do much beyond the one big catch and the one nice 3rd down conversion but that shouldn’t diminish his toughness.

In injury report #2, we have QB Ben Roethlisberger.  There’s been buzz this week when Big Ben revealed to that quivering tub of lard Peter King that he played the Super Bowl with “broken ribs.” Actually, an MRI taken after the game allegedly found two small microfractures in his rib cage.  Now far be it for me to call Ben a liar but I have to take any injury talk concerning him with a grain of salt.  I’m sure his injuries are there, I just wonder if they’re always as severe as he makes them out to be.

If Ben did have serious rib issues before the game, then the Steelers are guilty of almost Belichickian-like deceit.  They listed Hines correctly although head coach Mike Tomlin was obviously fibbing when he said Ward was “practicing normally.”  More disturbing is the Roethlisberger situation. The injury report listed him as having “back” issues.  Back?  Then Tomlin denied the team even x-raying Ben.

Granted you don’t want to put a sign up in big flashing neon letters saying, “HURT QB HERE!  KNOCK HIM OUT OF GAME WITH ONE GOOD SPEAR!”   Still, it raises questions about their treatment of Ben.  We all remember back in Bill Cowher‘s last season when he put Ben in against Jacksonville less than 2 weeks after an appendectomy and not far off from the motorcycle fiasco.  Ben, who supposedly had a 100+ degree temperature, played like utter crap.  He didn’t look himself for a good month.  Earlier this year, Ben was taking a beating and at times looked to be struggling physically.  You really have to worry that the team isn’t putting its own interests ahead of their QB’s by running him out there when he’s hurting.

But you also have to wonder if Ben doesn’t put on a bit of a performance to enhance his Superman reputation.  For those scoring at home, this season alone he has complained of:

-A separated shoulder

-A sprained knee

-A torn ligament in this thumb

-sore lower back

-spinal concussion

-broken ribs

Dammit readers, I’m a blogger, not a doctor but looking at that list, it’s a little strange anybody could go out week after week and play at a high level suffering so many crippling ailments.  Or maybe he’s just the Mick Foley of the NFL.

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