Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee yesterday and will miss Sunday's game at Green Bay, Coach Bill Cowher said.
A piece of torn cartilage was removed from Roethlisberger's knee in a 15-minute procedure, and he is expected to miss one or two games.
"This was something that if we let it go, he probably could have played this week," Cowher said during a news conference. "But the longer we went, the risk of injury would increase and there is a chance he would be out for an extended period of time."
Charlie Batch is scheduled to start in Roethlisberger's place against the Packers. It will be Batch's first NFL start since 2001, when he was with the Detroit Lions.
The knee has been bothering Roethlisberger since the season opener, Cowher said, and he aggravated the injury during Monday night's triumph over the Baltimore Ravens.
The Steelers lost the previous game that Roethlisberger missed this season, to the Jacksonville Jaguars last month after he hurt his left knee in a game against the San Diego Chargers. Tommy Maddox started that game in place of Roethlisberger, who is 18-1 in the regular season as the Steelers' starter. The Steelers are 2-2 since the beginning of last season in games not started by Roethlisberger.
No Sherman, No Favre?
Brett Favre says he would be reluctant to return to Green Bay next season if Mike Sherman isn't still coaching the Packers.
The Packers (1-6) are off to their worst start since 1991, which has led to speculation about Sherman's future.
Favre said Sherman's status would play an important role in his annual decision to keep on playing or to call it a career.
"I don't think there's one specific thing that would make me say yeah or no," Favre said. "Maybe you're on the verge of saying yeah, and then you say, 'You know what, do I really want to sit in meetings and have to learn something all over again?'
"That could be the straw that breaks the camel's back." . . .
New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson reportedly sent an e-mail to NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue late Sunday saying angrily that he would not attend any more of his team's games in Baton Rouge, La.
Benson called the trip to Baton Rouge a "total disaster" and a "miserable experience" in the e-mail and said he feared for the safety of himself, his family and his friends, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.
Benson reportedly was involved in two confrontations after the Saints' 21-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins at LSU's Tiger Stadium, lunging at a television camera crew and exchanging angry words with a heckling fan. The league has indicated that Benson will not be disciplined for the incidents. It was the first of four games that the Saints are scheduled to play this season in Baton Rouge, and Tagliabue said Sunday that the team perhaps could play games there next season as well before a decision about the franchise's long-term future is made.
The Saints told the Times-Picayune that Benson's e-mail was sent in frustration and his plans for this weekend's game against the Bears in Baton Rouge were not yet clear. . . .
The Lions are going back to Joey Harrington as their starting quarterback for Sunday's game at Minnesota. Harrington was benched in favor of Jeff Garcia two games ago after Garcia returned from the broken leg and severe ankle sprain he suffered during the preseason, but Garcia aggravated his leg injuries during last Sunday's loss to Chicago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.