Maddox mum about extent of injury
Maddox mum about extent of injury
Starter's injury puts rookie Roethlisberger in difficult spot, but sympathetic teammates offer their unconditional support
Monday, September 20, 2004
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BALTIMORE -- Tommy Maddox was able to use his right arm after the game yesterday, but it was for a much different reason: To wave off a question about his injury.
As he left M&T Bank Stadium, his throwing arm cradled to his chest in a black sling, Maddox said he was told not to discuss his condition until he and the Steelers are certain of the damage in his right elbow.
This much is certain: Maddox's injury is serious enough that he will miss what coach Bill Cowher called "an extended period of time" with a strained or torn muscle in his elbow.
The injury occurred near the start of the third quarter of the Steelers' 30-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and moved Ben Roethlisberger, the team's No. 1 draft choice, into the role of starting quarterback.
Maddox likely will have a magnetic resonance imaging test today to determine the severity of the injury. But, listening to Maddox's teammates, the prognosis doesn't appear good.
"You could see it on replay. It did not look good," said wide receiver Antwaan Randle El. "I pray for him. That's a tough injury right there. And not just football, that's a Tommy John [injury] or whatever. That ain't what you want."
"It's frustrating," said Hines Ward, who had six catches for 151 yards and a touchdown. "Tommy is such a competitor. But I'm sure he'll be our coach on the sideline. He's a true team player. He'll do everything he can to get Ben right."
The Steelers have not been having much luck with quarterbacks this season. They lost backup Charlie Batch for the season when his knee was injured the first week of training camp, requiring surgery.
That injury allowed Roethlisberger, the 11th overall pick in the draft, to become the No. 2 quarterback.
Now Maddox could be out for a lengthy period, perhaps the season, after a play in which his arm was hit by Ravens cornerback Gary Baxter as Maddox attempted to throw a pass. Maddox immediately grabbed his right arm as he fell to the ground.
The hit knocked the ball from Maddox's grasp, and Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs returned the fumble 24 yards to the Steelers' 1. One play later, Jamal Lewis scored on a 1-yard run and the Ravens had a 20-0 lead.
"He tried to get it off real quick, and the guy kind of hit the ball while it was still in his hands," Randle El said. "Anytime you lose your No. 1 guys, it's tough. And it's tough when the next guy is a rookie.
"But Ben's not sitting out there like a deer in the headlights. He's confident. And that's what we need. As long as he has that confidence and he knows we're behind him, he has no reason to feel left out, to feel not wanted. We're going to run routes, we're going to try to go up and get the ball, we're going to block for him. He's one of us. He's part of our team."
The last time Maddox appeared to be seriously injured -- he was momentarily paralyzed after a hit in a game against Tennessee in November 2002 -- he missed only two games. They were the only two games Maddox has missed because of injury since high school.
This injury, though, could keep him out much longer.
Maddox had completed just 4 of 13 passes for 67 yards when he was injured. He was sacked twice -- once by Baxter, another when Suggs hit his throwing arm and caused an intentional grounding penalty -- and forced from the pocket several times.
In two games, Maddox had completed just 17 of 39 passes (43.5 percent) for 209 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
"It's not going to change the offense at all," said receiver Plaxico Burress.
"We just got to go out there and get a lot more reps with [Roethlisberger]. We all support him and we all know he's going to come out and do good job for us. He's got to go out, work a little harder in practice so he can get the timing down for a game."
In less than two quarters, Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes -- 3 yards to Randle El, 12 yards to Ward -- but he also threw two interceptions. One was returned 51 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Chris McAlister, a play in which Roethlisberger and wide receiver Lee Mays miscommunicated in the hurry-up offense.
Roethlisberger finished 12 of 20 for 176 yards, but he was throwing against a mostly zone defense that was trying to protect a 20-0 lead.
"Considering the situation, we were pretty limited with our play-calling anyway," said guard Alan Faneca. "I think he was making sure he got the play in right and was a little more concerned with making sure he got that right. He was just going out there and trying to make plays."
"It's his first time in there," Burress said. "You can't expect a guy to come out and throw for 300 or 400 yards in a quarter and a half.
"We're not going to have any trouble to go out and support him. He's going to be the future of this team, eventually. It wouldn't be a better time for him to go out and start."
Re: Maddox mum about extent of injury
Well, I've like Roethlisberger for a while and he should be ok. However, it doesn't sound like his o-line is all that excited about it.