Ben Roethlisberger closer to return

Ben Roethlisberger just may be ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers' rematch with the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday.

The Steelers quarterback will begin soft-tossing the football early in the week to test his range of motion and work through the pain of his rare rib and shoulder injury, according to team sources.

Roethlisberger slept much better this week, a source said, even with newborn son "Little Ben" in the house.

He has been able to hold his baby with his right arm, and doctors have determined his rib has healed enough that he doesn't risk further damage.

Roethlisberger's pain tolerance and range of motion could determine whether he plays next Sunday against Baltimore.

"I'm going to try," Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette when asked if he believed he could return for the game against the Ravens. "It's killing me to watch."

When asked by ESPN about his possible return after the Steelers' 20-14 loss at Cleveland on Sunday, Roethlisberger, who is no longer in a sling, said, "I honestly have no idea what the plan is."

He left the stadium pulling his bag with his injured right arm.

Byron Leftwich started in place of Roethlisberger in the loss to the Ravens two weeks ago but Charlie Batch faced the Browns on Sunday after Leftwich (ribs) was injured against Baltimore.

Batch was 20 of 34 for 199 yards Sunday and was intercepted three times in the loss, which dropped the Steelers to 6-5 this season. In all, the Steelers had eight turnovers in the loss.

ESPN reporter Bob Holtzman contributed to this report.