Steelers QB Byron Leftwich suffered a left knee injury in the second quarter of Pittsburgh's preseason game against Carolina on Thursday night. Reports on Friday indicate that he suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen said it was a second-degree sprain, which is not a complete tear. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh News-Gazette reported that Leftwich will miss 2-4 weeks.
Leftwich, vying with Dennis Dixon to be the Steelers' starting quarterback while Ben Roethlisberger serves a four-game suspension to begin the regular season, suffered the injury as he completed an 18-yard pass to rookie Emmanuel Sanders. Leftwich was replaced by Dixon, who threw a 23-yard TD to Sanders on the Steelers' next series.
Leftwich was the favorite to replace Roethlisberger entering training camp, but Dixon has played well in the preseason and received work with the first-team offense against Denver in the Steelers' third preseason game.
Dixon's lone NFL start came last season at Baltimore with Roethlisberger missing the game with a concussion. He completed 12-of-26 passes for 145 yards with one TD and rushed for a TD as well. However, he threw an interception in overtime, and the Ravens capitalized with the game-winning field goal.
If Leftwich indeed misses the opener, Dixon and Charlie Batch will be the Steelers' top two quarterbacks. Batch appeared in one game last season, relieving the injured Roethlisberger at Kansas City, but he sustained a broken wrist. Batch missed the '08 season with a broken collarbone. Batch, who enters his ninth season with Pittsburgh after four seasons as Detroit's starter, has played well in the preseason and provides an experienced alternative to Dixon.
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