Democracy Dies in Darkness

Early Lead

Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger do the injury dance with reporters

September 12, 2018 at 3:20 PM

Tow Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, doing an injury dance. (Ron Schwane/AP, Stacy Revere/Getty Images/)

Ben Roethlisberger is in his 15th NFL season and Aaron Rodgers is in his 14th, so they know the deal when it comes to injuries, especially the less-serious maladies that don’t require a trip to injured reserve. Specifics are reserved for closed-door meetings with coaches and doctors. Reporters, and by proxy the fans, are left to grapple with a kind of verbal jujitsu that reveals next to nothing.

This has been on full display this week as Roethlisberger and Rodgers, along with their coaches, deftly fended off any and all requests for comment on how, exactly, they were feeling after suffering injuries three days earlier.

Roethlisberger apparently hurt his right elbow on the Steelers’ final offensive play of their 21-21 tie against the Browns on Sunday when he got hit by Cleveland rookie Genard Avery, losing the ball in the process.

“It just got hit,” Roethlisberger told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s bruised. It will be fine.”

But when pressed on whether the “bruise” was bad enough to merit an MRI exam, Roethlisberger quickly shut things down.

“I don’t know if I can talk about it, sorry,” he said.

Here’s the play in question, in case you want to Zapruder it (Joe Schobert picked up the fumble and almost ran it all the way back).

Coach Mike Tomlin kept the bruise narrative going in his own talk with reporters Wednesday.

“Just the bumps and bruises associated with play,” he said, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “That was the postgame [prognosis]. We’ll see how he is [Wednesday] morning. That’s just full disclosure from my part.”

Apparently, “full disclosure” does not include anything on whether Roethlisberger will be good to go Sunday against the Chiefs.

“Guys, I outlined it,” he said when pressed further. “It may limit his participation in the early portions early in the week and we’ll let that be our guide.”

Rodgers, meanwhile, trotted out a classic when discussing the knee injury that sidelined him for a time during Sunday night’s season opener against the Bears.

“We’re taking it one day at a time,” Rodgers said Tuesday on “The Dan Le Batard Show” when asked about the injury. “One day at a time.”

Coach Mike McCarthy would only reveal Wednesday that Rodgers is working with the “rehab group,” that he’s “always responded,” that “he’ll be given the whole week to get ready” and that “we’ll take it day by day and learn as we go,” which are inspiring words to the nation’s public-relations professionals but utterly meaningless to the rest of us, by design.

Rodgers later told reporters that his injury was a knee sprain, and that it kept him entirely out of Wednesday’s practice. He said the injury has been “pretty sore the last three days,” but that he feels “a little better every day,” according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.

Thankfully we have Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen to clear things up.

“We know he’s playing,” he said of Rodgers.

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Matt Bonesteel spent the first 17 years of his Washington Post career writing and editing. In 2014, Bonesteel pivoted from the newspaper to online and now he blogs for the Early Lead and other Web-based products owned by The Post.

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