Are you toying with us, Steelers?

Ben Roethlisberger missed Sunday’s 27-16 loss to New England after having knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus suffered in Week 6 against Miami. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the team hadn’t set a timetable for Roethlisberger’s return, but was confident the injury wasn’t long-term.

Modern medicine is, at times, incredible. We here at NFL.com are not doctors. But this is barely a timetable. Roethlisberger had surgery last week and was ruled out of Sunday’s contest. Throwing in practice during the bye week, barely one week after having surgery, is almost unbelievable.

We thought Roethlisberger could have thrown that one pass for the photo op, doing it — as the kids say — for the ‘Gram. The one clue we had was while his teammates were all wearing helmets, Roethlisberger was instead in a stocking cap. It turns out, he spent some time early in practice throwing passes to the tight ends, he told 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday.

Roethlisberger hopes to practice next week after Pittsburgh returns from the bye and prepares to play the Ravens, he added.

One would imagine he might still have some swelling in the knee, and perhaps, some discomfort. But this is a quarterback who has done this kind of thing — grab the biggest shoe possible and jam his foot in there, because Big Ben must play — for years. It’s part of his reputation, his brand as the Steel City quarterback who out-grits everyone in the sport.

We’ll see if he plays in Week 9, after the Steelers return from the bye to face their bitter AFC North rivals.

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