A broken foot that slowed Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger through much of the end of last season -- and into the playoffs and Super Bowl -- may need an operation to correct the injury.
Roethlisberger, speaking to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday, said his right foot bothered him so much last season "there were times during practice and games where I didn't feel like I'd be able to walk."
But the lockout, Roethlisberger told the newspaper, has given him time to rest. And as a result the foot has nearly fully healed.
"I could have had surgery, but according to the doctors it would have been a really nasty process because of where the break was," Roethlisberger said. "It was better off trying not to do anything. It's going to be something where we're just going to have to, in essence, play it by ear.
"If it continues to be as painful as it was at the end of last year, then I'm going to probably have to have the surgery."
But as the lockout continues -- Saturday marked the standoff's 102nd day -- Roethlisberger has taken advantage of the downtime.
"It's doing really good. It's healed up," he said. "Obviously, it helps when I'm not cutting and planting and doing all of these different activities. It's really come a long way. I haven't had too many problems with it recently."
Roethlisberger overcame the injury to lead the Steelers to the Super Bowl, where they lost 31-25 to the Green Bay Packers.
A metal-reinforced cleat helped him through the injury, starting with a Dec. 5 game at Baltimore and throughout the rest of the season and playoffs -- eight games, all told.
After his four-game suspension to start the season, Roethlisberger returned to throw for 3,200 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions.
But the loss to the Packers still burns, he said.
"I don't know if it will ever really go away," he told the Tribune-Review, "unless you can get back and win one."