After practice on Wednesday, one which he didn't participate in because of his knee injury, Byron Leftwich headed to a place he rather would not be these days – the training room. He has nothing against the team's athletic trainers; he would just prefer seeing them for taping over treatment any day.
"You ask any player and you hate that. You hate being in the training room, especially when you have the chance to miss the game," said Leftwich. "We do all this work in the offseason. Everything we do is for Sunday, and to know there is a chance you can't play, it's a tough thing to think about. There are only so many opportunities. To not have that opportunity is what makes it tough."
Leftwich sprained his knee in the team's final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field. Up until that point he had been battling for the starting quarterback job to open the season, a job that went to Dennis Dixon.
"It's disappointing because there is a chance I might miss this one. See how I left myself a chance," said a smiling Leftwich. "What we do for a living sometimes these things happen. It happened to me in that game. It's something I will deal with, get better from and heal as fast as possible."
One of the more frustrating aspects for Leftwich is he has never had a knee injury before so when it happened, he didn't realize how bad it was and tried to stay in the game.
"I thought I was real good. I tried to finish playing," said Leftwich. "Then I knew something wasn't right. I didn't think it was something of that nature. It wasn't a pain thing, I was thinking let me get through the pain. But I didn't know what to expect. I took a few steps and knew something might be going on."
Leftwich is wasting as little time as possible trying to get healthy. While he had to rest the first few days, he has already been on the exercise bike and is moving in the right direction.
"It's moving better than I thought it would," said Leftwich "I never hurt my knee before so I didn't know what to expect. I am confident I can get back."
And while he wants to get out on the field, he isn't going to do anything that will cause further damage.
"I don't want to put any expectations on it," said Leftwich. "Hopefully I have a few Willis Reed moments in me. I won't go out there unless I am healthy enough to play.
"The good thing is I won't get any slower. I know that."
While he is recovering he will be helping Dixon as much as he can, giving him advice, being an extra set of eyes for him, anything the young quarterback needs.
"I have been in that situation before. Dennis never has been in that situation," said Leftwich. "Charlie and I can help him. We know what he is going to be thinking about because we have been in that situation. I believe he will do fine. He has been doing great in practice. He knows what he is doing."