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Roethlisberger has sprained shoulder

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Roethlisberger has sprained shoulder

PITTSBURGH (AP) Ben Roethlisberger left Heinz Field on Monday night with his sprained right shoulder in a sling. When he walks back in ready to play is anybody's guess.

Tomlin called Pittsburgh's franchise quarterback ``questionable'' but otherwise offered little detail Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Roethlisberger was pounded into the ground by Kansas City Chiefs linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston in the third quarter of Pittsburgh's 16-13 overtime victory.

``He is being evaluated,'' Tomlin said. ``Obviously this injury puts his participation in the questionable category for this week.''

Roethlisberger left the game and went to the hospital to for an MRI-exam. He underwent more tests on Tuesday to determine the severity of the sprain to the sternoclavicular (SC) joint in his throwing shoulder.

The SC joint connects the collarbone to the sternum. Treatment can range from a few days of rest and ice to as much as 4-6 weeks according to Dr. Victor Khabie, chief of sports medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

``You could tape it, you could do that stuff but the reality is those ligaments just have to heal,'' Khabie said. ``If you go throwing, you slow down the healing process.''

Roethlisberger was scrambling in the pocket to buy time on Pittsburgh's first possession of the second half when Houston wrapped up Roethlisberger's legs and Hali slammed into him, driving the quarterback's right side into the damp Heinz Field turf. Roethlisberger didn't appear to be hurt walking off the field but quickly made his way to the locker room before leaving the stadium with the game still in progress.

``It didn't seem like a tough hit ... but he came to the sideline and next thing you know he was gone,'' Pittsburgh left tackle Max Starks said. ``I'm hoping it was nothing serious. Honestly it didn't seem like it.''

If Roethlisberger can't play, the Steelers (6-3) will turn veteran backup Byron Leftwich, who completed 7 of 14 passes for 73 yards in relief as Pittsburgh won its fourth straight game thanks to Shaun Suisham's 23-yard field goal 51 seconds into the extra period.

The 32-year-old Leftwich hasn't started a game since 2009, when he went 0-3 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His last victory came on Oct. 8, 2006 when the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the New York Jets 41-0.

The former first round pick has spent most of the last six years as a backup while dealing with a series of significant injuries. He missed all of last season after breaking his arm in a preseason game and threw seven regular season passes in 2010 after hurting his knee at the end of training camp.

Though there was a bit of rust after getting pressed into service, Leftwich did guide the Steelers to a go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter.

``I try to prepare as if I am the starter every week,'' Leftwich said. ``Nothing will change. I wish Ben the best. I hope he is healthy. Other than that I will be ready to go.''

Leftwich insists he has mastered offensive coordinator Todd Haley's playbook and Leftwich's teammates are hardly concerned if he's under center on Sunday.

``We don't have a true rookie back there that's never taken a snap before,'' Starks said. ``We feel good about who we have back there if it is Byron. We'll move forward and wait Ben's return if that's the case.''

Roethlisberger isn't the only big name that could be out on Sunday. Safety Troy Polamalu continues to be plagued by a right calf injury and Tomlin described him ``doubtful'' to play against the Ravens. Safety Ryan Clark sustained a concussion for the second time in three games when he took a knee to the head from Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, though Tomlin said it appears Clark is fine.

Maybe, but it's not exactly the way the Steelers wanted to be heading into a crucial three-game stretch that includes two games against the hated Ravens in three weeks.

Baltimore (7-2) appeared ready to run away with the division after Pittsburgh stumbled to a 2-3 start. The Steelers have ripped off four straight to draw within a game and can take firm control of the AFC North at home on Sunday.

The prospect of doing it without their two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback makes that task more difficult, but not impossible.

``B-Left has been here a long time,'' defensive end Brett Keisel said. ``If he's in there, we expect to keep rolling.''

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Ravens' No. 1 run defense will have its hands full with LeGarrette Blount

Ravens' No. 1 run defense will have its hands full with LeGarrette Blount

One of the Ravens’ toughest challenges Monday night will be trying to contain Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount. The Ravens have the NFL’s top-ranked run defense, yielding just 73.8 yards per game. Blount is fifth in the league in rushing (957 yards) and is one of the NFL’s most physical backs.

Jay Ajayi of the Dolphins had 61 yards on 12 carries against the Ravens on Sunday, and his run style is similar to Blount’s. Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams talked about the pride the Ravens take in stopping the run after Sunday’s game.

“We’re the No. 1 run defense in the league right now,” Williams said. “That’s what we do. When running backs come against us, we just do our jobs.”

It will be interesting to see how the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady attack the Ravens. With tight end Rob Gronkowski done for the year with a back injury, Blount figures to be a major part of the Patriots’ game plan.

Blount already has four 100-yard games and is about to top 1,000 yards for only the second time in his career. Will Blount have his way against the Ravens’ No. 1-ranked defense? The answer to that question will play a key role in determining which team wins.

MORE: Joe Flacco can taste the playoffs

 

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Fantasy Football: Finding Playoff Help In Week 14 Waiver Wire

Fantasy Football: Finding Playoff Help In Week 14 Waiver Wire

Week 14 of the fantasy football season means owners are entering the playofs or battling for a berth. Well, some are shakng their heads at Adrian Peterson, DeAndre Hopkins and Eddie Lacy and wondering how it all went so wrong, but let's focus on those still alive or glory. Week 14 also means it's time for two lineup reminders:

1) Don't overthink things: Just because Brock Osweiler has by far the easier matchup on paper don't you dare start him over Andrew Luck.

2) Leave stubborn behind: Yes, you drafted Todd Gurley in the first round. Yes, you're feeling like a boss for stashing Dion Lewis. Yes, Dak Prescott is awesome and only you believed in him from Jump Street. That doesn't mean you MUST start them. Use that brain of yours to assess the scene in terms of production and matchup.

Either way, the Waiver Wire remains a viable tool, even if just to prevent others owners from getting help. Here's a look at some of that potential help.

Quarterbacks 

1.  Joe Flacco, BAL vs. Patriots
 
2.  Trevor Siemien, DEN vs. Titans
 
* More than likely you're set at QB so consider this just the writer doing his due dillegance. I'll assume Andy Dalton (vs. Browns) isn't available, which leaves two other AFC options as your best hope if in need. Flacco is coming off a monster and now faces a situation where he could be in catch-up mode during the second half against New England. As for Siemien, who missed last week with an injury, he gets a Tennessee defense allowing the sixth most points to fantasy quarterbacks and at least two touchdown tosses for seven straight weeks.

Running Backs

1. Mike Gillislee, BUF vs. Steelers

2. Jacquizz Rodgers, TB vs. Saints

3.  Kenneth Dixon, BAL vs. Patriots

4. Rex Burkhead, CIN vs. Browns

Others: Charles Sims, TB;  Justin Forsett, DEN, Shane Vereen, NYG

* No screaming must adds, intrigue exists. Gillislee has four rushing touchdowns over the last four weeks with rushing totals of  85, 32, 72 and 49 yards in that span. ...The Bucs backfield is possibly for grabs after Doug Martin sat out the final three drives in Week 13. ... Jeremy Hill likely leads Cincinnati in attempts against Cleveland, but Burkhead should be all kinds of active in the regular game plan and possible garbage time. 
 
Wide Receivers 

1.  Pierre Garcon, WAS at Eagles
 
2.  Malcolm Mitchell, NE vs. Ravens

3. Adam Thielen, MIN vs. Jaguars
 
4.  Dontrelle Inman, SD at Panthers

5. Tyler Lockett, SEA at Packers
 
5.  Ted Ginn, CAR vs. Chargers
 
* If you like your otther lineup options and need safe help at receiver, look at Garcon (At least 6-67 in four of last five weeks) and Thielen (7 for 89 in Week 13). Mitchell (17 catches, 222 yards and three touchdowns over last three games), Inman, Lockett and Ginn, have higher ceilings.

Tight Ends 

1.  Gary Barnidge, CLE vs. Bengals
 
2.  Dennis Pitta, BAL at Patriots
 
3.  Lance Kendricks, LA vs. Falcons
 
* The Barnidge recommednation isn't about the expected return of Robert Griffin II -- as if -- but facing a Bengals defense allowing the second most points to fantasy tight ends.
 
Defenses – Because you stream this position

1. 49ers (vs. Jets)

2. Colts (vs.Texans)

3. Jets (at 49ers)

* For those already in the playoffs, look ahead to Week 15 and 16 for possible additions.

MORE NFL: Hungry Flacco can almost taste the playoffs