On Wednesday in an interview with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, Ben let on that the shoulder pain he’s been experiencing in his throwing arm is the result of a torn rotator cuff. When did he tear that little thing exactly? Only about nine months ago in the November 6th loss against the Ravens. Big Ben says that it hurt for a while, but eventually the pain has gone away. He quipped that things should be just fine as long as it doesn’t tear all the way.
So Ben has a slight tear. And that tear in his throwing arm can’t be repaired – you can’t repair the soft tissue that’s damaged. I’m not a doctor, but Googling this kind of injury states that ‘many daily activities, like combing your hair or getting dressed, may become painful and difficult to do.’ Alright, so it’s not like Ben was going to be on the cover of GQ in the near future anyways. As long as he throws a football he’ll be just fine, right? Right?! As long as Ben’s tear was indeed sustained during game time and not slowly over time, then everything should be honky dory. But, if Roethlisberger’s tear is caused because of a degenerate condition that’s developed in #7’s shoulder, then we have a bigger problem on our hands. That means that at some point in the near future, that tendon will tear all the way – and that means some significant time off for Ben and possibly a huge decrease in overall arm strength and accuracy even after recovery.
My other an more immediate concern is – does the public mention of a slight rotator cuff tear compromise the big lug? Does it put a bullseye on his back (or shoulder as it were)? It’s not like there’s bounties in the NFL that we have to worry about. That kind of stuff doesn’t happen. I know that you have to be hit pretty much under perfect conditions to tear that rotator cuff completely. But, it doesn’t hurt to try, right? I guess I’m being too much of an alarmist, but it would be like Isaac Redman showing up to camp telling the press he has a stress fracture in his fibula (I Googled that too, and it’s your shin bone). It’s the kind of thing that’s probably just better left unsaid until it becomes a major problem.
So why did Ben say it? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s going to be ‘that thing’ that continually comes up over the course of the season. It will be the thing that will make him a tough guy hero and at the same time be the excuse as to maybe why the ball fell about a yard short in a deep bomb to Antonio Brown in the waning moments of a tight game they eventually lose.
Keep that shoulder safe, Ben. I’m going to go look up why that spot on my forearm just turned green.