Dear Ben Roethlisberger,
Let me first apologize for jinxing you and your offensive line with my previous post. I mistakenly touted your offensive line for being tough, gritty, effective for running the ball and protective of your life. Seeing as you sustained an injury that apparently threatened your life and your running backs only managed 77 total yards on 27 carries Monday night, it is clear I acted irrationally on giving the big guys up front "props".
With that being said, let me get straight to the point. Do not, under any circumstances, return to the field until you are 100%. That means a fully healed dislocated rib and sprained shoulder. Yes, you have a reputation for being the toughest quarterback in the league and yes, you make a huge difference in the game when you're running around slinging the ball; however, do not come back until you are completely recovered.
This team has seven games left with five of those games against terrible teams. In fact, the combined record of the Chargers, Bengals, Cowboys and Browns (twice) is 16-29 and none of those teams has a winning record. The Ravens pose the biggest threat but maybe Byron Leftwich can steal a win with a more systematic offense than what the Steelers typically have. If that happens, you're looking at a record of 12-4 or 11-5. That's probably a home game against a team like the Indianapolis Colts.
This team is good enough to make the playoffs without your help for the rest of the season. It is not a compliment to them but more of a byproduct of playing in a bad conference with an easy schedule. They can survive with Byron Leftwich at quarterback. They cannot win playoff games without you being healthy and if you decide to try and tough it out, you'll do more harm than good.
If you come back too early from a shoulder injury -I'm assuming you wont come back from the rib injury until it is 100%- you risk putting your team in the same situation as last season. Remember how bad the offense looked against the 49ers and Broncos? Imagine trying to find an open receiver when the defense knows you cant throw the ball further than 30 yards because of a bad shoulder.
You're a tough player, Ben. And you're definitely the man here in Pittsburgh when it comes to leading championship teams. So be a championship player. Come back when the pain dissipates, not when "it doesn't hurt as much as before." Learn your lesson from last year.