LATROBE, Pa. — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured his right ankle or foot during the last half-hour of the team's final training camp practice. It was not immediately certain how badly he was hurt or how long he would be out.
Roethlisberger had an ice pack on the back of the ankle when he was carted off at the end of Thursday's workout, with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians accompanying him. Roethlisberger didn't talk to reporters, but he could be overheard saying, "Oh it just feels great. It feels like a car ran over it."
Coach Mike Tomlin declined to talk to reporters. Team spokesman Dave Lockett said only, "Someone stepped on his foot, and we don't have any updates other than that."
As the Steelers' starting offense practiced against the starting defense, left tackle Max Starks couldn't handle a rush from linebacker James Harrison, the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Starks went down to one knee as he tripped Roethlisberger, who stayed on the turf for about 5 minutes.
After being treated by athletic trainer John Norwig, Roethlisberger spent the rest of practice sitting on a cooler. He was limping noticeably as he gingerly walked from the sideline to join the end-of-practice huddle at midfield. He draped a towel over his head before leaving on the golf cart.
Normally, any player seriously injured during a Steelers practice is removed from the field immediately and is taken to a hospital — an indication that Roethlisberger's injury may be no more serious than a sprain. Starks suggested such, saying, "My feet are fine. I don't have a sprained ankle."
Starks isn't certain exactly how the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback was hurt, but he didn't hear any popping or tearing noises as Roethlisberger went down, sounds that might signal a serious injury.
"James Harrison was bull rushing ... I'm not sure I knocked him into him (Roethlisberger) or what happened behind me. I was busy trying to block the defensive MVP," Starks said. "He got tripped up and fell down."
Roethlisberger didn't tell any teammates how he felt, though he could be heard saying, "I'll be all right."
"He didn't want to talk about it now, but I'm sure he'll address us upstairs," Starks said.
The injury was only the second major mishap of the Steelers' three-week-old camp — right guard Darnell Stapleton needed knee surgery less than a week into camp. It brought an abrupt end to what might have been the best of Roethlisberger's six NFL training camps.
He has shown a strong, accurate arm for several weeks after having some soreness for several days, causing Arians to say, "His arm's really alive."
Roethlisberger is certain not to play in the Steelers' exhibition game Saturday at Washington. The Super Bowl champion Steelers have two more exhibition games after that before opening the season Sept. 10 against Tennessee.
The last time the Steelers were coming off a Super Bowl-winning season, 2006, Roethlisberger sustained severe facial injuries during a motorcycle crash six weeks before camp began, then missed the opener after undergoing an appendectomy.
The Steelers stage most nearly all of the practices on one of Saint Vincent College's three grass fields, but their second and final practice Thursday was held on an artificial turf field because of rain earlier in the day. There was no indication the turf contributed to the injury.