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Roethlisberger released from hospital

PITTSBURGH (June 15, 2006) -- Ben Roethlisberger was released from a hospital late June 14 after spending more than two days recovering from facial injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident.

The Steelers quarterback left Mercy Hospital a little before midnight. It was unclear where he went, said team spokesman Dave Lockett.

Doctors had encouraging words about Roethlisberger, whose motorcycle collided with a car at a Pittsburgh intersection on June 12. A second round of tests again showed no brain injuries, although he has a concussion.

Roethlisberger got out of his bed to greet visitors June 14, less than 48 hours after being admitted to a hospital located only a few blocks from the crash site.

Players who visited with Roethlisberger said he is upbeat, and they are convinced he will be back quickly and with no diminished skills. Counting the playoffs, the Steelers have a 27-4 record with Roethlisberger at quarterback and have advanced to two AFC championship games and won a Super Bowl during his two seasons as a starter.

His release was kept a secret from the Pittsburgh media, which has stationed reporters and cameras at the hospital each day. The hospital released a statement saying that it "respected the wishes and privacy of Mr. Roethlisberger and his family" by not confirming his discharge until about nine hours later.

Because Roethlisberger's multiple facial fractures, broken nose and broken upper and lower jaw are being held in place by screws and 2-inch titanium plates, he can eat soft foods -- and not be restricted to liquids -- during an estimated six-to-eight week recovery period.

"We take a titanium plate, bend it and adapt it to the contours of the facial bones and then secure it in place with screws," surgeon Daniel Pituch said. "This kind of state-of-the-art technology allowed us to successfully treat Mr. Roethlisberger's facial fractures."

As a result, the 240-pound Roethlisberger probably won't lose as much weight as he would have on an all-liquid diet. The Steelers have not given a timetable for his return, but they are optimistic he will be ready for their Sept. 7 opener against Miami.

One of the team's concerns was how long Roethlisberger would need to regain his weight and strength after being unable to work out for what might be an extended period.

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