View Full Version : Big Ben practices, but says he's not '100 percent'

08-26-2009, 11:09 PM
Big Ben practices, but says he's not '100 percent'
By Scott Brown
Thursday, August 27, 2009

Steelers fans weren't the only ones who got a major scare last Thursday when left tackle Max Starks fell onto the right foot of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the team's final practice of training camp.

"We both went down. Everyone thought they heard a pop, too," said Roethlisberger, speaking Wednesday for the first time since he hurt his right Achilles tendon. "Luckily, it was just a bruise. It's not 100 percent, but it's coming along."

Roethlisberger took part in most of the Steelers' practice yesterday, though he spent the last part of it icing the back of his foot.

Barring a setback, he will play when the Steelers play host to the Buffalo Bills in a preseason game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Roethlisberger says he expects to play at least the first two quarters against the Bills.

The game figures to be the last time Roethlisberger and the rest of the starters play extensively during the preseason.

"Who knows how long coach (Mike Tomlin) wants to leave us in there, but we do go into it more like a regular game," Roethlisberger said. "We do the game-planning a little bit. We have scouting reports. This is a big preseason game, especially (for) the offense."

It's especially important for Roethlisberger since he didn't play last Saturday against the Redskins and has logged just two series in preseason competition.

The Steelers held him out of the Redskins game as a precaution.

Roethlisberger wouldn't go too much into the specifics of his injury and declined to say whether he had gotten an MRI taken on his right foot.

"You know I can't talk about what we have done," Roethlisberger said. "I am up walking, and we will continue to get better every day."

Tempers, tempers

Tempers flared after the final play of practice yesterday, as outside linebacker James Harrison and offensive tackle Jeremy Parquet had to be separated by coaches and teammates after the two engaged in some extracurricular shoving.

"Just a little football stuff," Harrison said.

"We're teammates, man, just playing ball," Parquet added. "It's over."

Wide receiver Hines Ward agreed.

"Things get heated. You're hot; you're going against the same person. Don't make much of it," Ward said. "That's part of football. Once we're in this locker room, we're family. They went through it. (Today), they'll be talking again."

Casey Hampton said he didn't see the scuffle, though he did make an observation about Harrison, arguably one of the most intimidating players in the NFL.

"I heard he can't fight. That's the word on the street," Hampton said. "He looks the part, but they say his fighting skills don't look so good, so I'm going to have to go see what happened."

When told what Hampton said about Harrison, Ward laughed.

"I'm not going to be the one to say that," he said.

Injury update

The Steelers again held running backs Willie Parker and Frank Summers out of practice because of hamstring injuries.

Dennis Dixon, the No. 3 quarterback, watched practice with his right arm in a sling. Dixon sustained a mild sprain of his A/C joint during the Redskins game.

Guard/center Darnell Stapleton also didn't practice because of a right knee injury. He said there's no timetable for his return.

Stapleton, who's missed most of preseason practice, is optimistic he will return soon enough to help the Steelers this season.

"I'm hoping I can make it back before the end of the preseason," said Stapleton, who started the final 15 games at right guard last season.

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.