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Ben Roethlisberger sent home ill ahead of Wednesday’s practice

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With the Pittsburgh Steelers facing a must-win game Sunday simply to preserve their hopes of reaching the playoffs, the team was dealt a disappointing-but-not-devastating blow when Ben Roethlisberger went home sick on Wednesday.

NFL Media’s Aditi Kinkhabwala reports that the Steelers quarterback was sent home due to his illness before the start of Wednesday’s practice, a session which marked the first day of preparations for the team’s critical showdown against the division rival Cleveland Browns.

There’s little to no reason for concern over Wednesday’s sick day, as Roethlisberger is fully expected to play Sunday. But the quarterback, after a torrid hot streak of late, struggled in a devastating 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last weekend, throwing two interceptions.

Roethlisberger arguably would have liked to get back on the practice field to turn the page following his rough game. In a way, it would have helped Roethlisberger get “that stench of last week’s performance off” him, as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin characterized what is needed of the team in its upcoming game against the Browns.

But the Steelers will need help to reach the postseason, as beating the Browns alone won’t do it. Pittsburgh also needs the New York Jets to lose to the Buffalo Bills to punch their playoff ticket.

All that aside, the Steelers would have preferred seeing Big Ben at practice Wednesday, even if it won’t prevent him from playing Sunday.