Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a shoulder injury on Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs and was forced to leave the game in the third quarter.
The injury appeared to be significant and was serious enough that Roethlisberger left the stadium during the game and traveled to the hospital to get an MRI. According to ESPN.com, he "remained there past midnight."
According to Ed Werder at ESPN.com, "Sources say initial reports on Roethlisberger show a sprain, but a source who was with Roethlisberger on Monday night told ESPN that doctors informed the quarterback they wanted further evaluations and a complete diagnosis won't be available until later Tuesday."
Roethlisberger was hurt on Pittsburgh's first possession in the third quarter after scrambling on a 3rd-and-4 play. He was sacked by Justin Houston and landed directly on his right elbow, which pushed up into his shoulder.
According to Yahoo Sports, "Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said there is no official word on the injury."
Byron Leftwich came into the game for Roethlisberger and finished 7-of-14 for 73 yards. The Steelers won 16-13 in overtime.
"The great thing about Byron is he's got a very consistent demeanor, a very calming presence," Tomlin said to ESPN. "It wasn't a pretty body of work by any of us."
According to Jason Cole at Yahoo Sports, sources indicated that the injury appeared to be a separated shoulder.
"There's a lot to be figured out and we probably won't know anything definitive until the morning, but that's what the [Steelers] team doctor said," a source said to Cole.
Roethlisberger has been extremely durable during his career, playing in over "90 percent of the Steelers regular-season snaps over the last five years, including 92 percent of Pittsburgh's designed pass plays," according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin are unsure of the severity of the injury or how long Roethlisberger could be out.
"I don't live in the hypothetical world," Tomlin said to ESPN.com. "I wait until I get information, and then I respond accordingly to that information."
The injury to Roethlisberger could derail what the Steelers feel is a Super Bowl caliber season.
"It hasn't gone our way for a couple of years now," left tackle Max Starks said to ESPN.com. "But we still manage to rise to the occasion in spite of those things. That speaks to the depth and the quality of players on this team. We really have 45 guys who could be starters anywhere else in this league. That's the comforting thing. That's why we don't feel uneasy going into this short week."
Roethlisberger has put up MVP-type numbers, throwing for 2,287 yards and 17 touchdowns with only four interceptions. He has completed over 66 percent of his passes and has a QB rating of 100.0.
Apart from Leftwich, the Steelers also have Charlie Batch as a backup quarterback. The Steelers have dealt with the absence of Roethlisberger before, including in 2010 when he was suspended to start the year and the team opened 3-1.
"We have been in this situation before when Ben has gone down," Leftwich said. "[Tomlin] has full confidence in me, so nothing is going to change."
Before he was hurt, Roethlisberger tied the game at 10-10 after a sharp seven-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace. Wallace made a fantastic one-handed catch that he was able to help control using his knees before falling out of bounds.
The Steelers improved to 6-3 with the win and are only one game behind the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North division.