PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus on his left knee Monday.
While coach Mike Tomlin is confident Roethlisberger will make a full recovery, the timetable for Roethlisberger’s return is uncertain.
Roethlisberger tweaked the knee while scrambling in the second quarter of Sunday’s 30-15 loss to Miami. He left briefly before returning but complained of pain afterward. An MRI revealed the extent of the damage and Roethlisberger underwent an outpatient procedure on Monday morning.
“Though we do not know a specific timetable for when he will be able to return to the field, we are confident this injury is not long term,” Tomlin said in a statement on Monday afternoon.
While the Steelers expressed relief that Roethlisberger’s injury won’t threaten his season, it seems highly unlikely he’ll be ready by next weekend, leaving Landry Jones as the starter for Sunday’s showdown with Tom Brady and New England (5-1). Pittsburgh then has a week off before traveling to Baltimore on Nov. 6.
“I’m going to prepare like I’ve done in the past and we’ll see what happens,” Jones said.
The former Oklahoma star has made two career starts, both last season. The Steelers went 1-1 in those games, though the victory comes with an asterisk because he left early with an ankle injury and Roethlisberger came on to lead a blowout win over Cleveland.
Jones was more effective in relief, leading Pittsburgh by Arizona and Oakland when injuries forced Roethlisberger and Michael Vick out of the lineup.
Jones has taken just a handful of snaps this season and threw one incompletion while briefly spelling Roethlisberger in Miami. He’s completed 32 of 56 for 513 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 appearances and played extensively with the first team during a preseason in which Roethlisberger made just a token appearance.
“Practice is so different from games, you never know what you’re going to get from a guy until you go into the game,” Jones said. “Last year I performed pretty well in most of the situations so I feel like I have the confidence of the guys.”
If the Steelers want to have any hope of keeping up with the Patriots, they don’t really have a choice. Several times over the past three years, Jones has seemingly found his roster spot in jeopardy only to survive and — in very limited instances — thrive.
Jones doesn’t believe offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s playbook will be limited, and Haley didn’t hesitate to let Jones chuck it deep last season.
Even on Sunday, Haley called a third-down pass in Jones’ brief appearance even though the Steelers needed all of a yard to extend the drive. Jones’ heave fell incomplete and Roethlisberger returned on the ensuring drive.
The start also comes at a critical time for Jones, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
“This guy is a really good college player and now he has the tools around to get the job done,” guard Ramon Foster said. “Me knowing him, he’s going to be a guy that makes sure his success is on the front page.”