Ben Roethlisberger's right thumb injury apparently is not serious and he could play Saturday night against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback missed the last few minutes of practice Wednesday after hitting his helmet on a shoulder pad, an arm or catching it in a jersey. Coach Bill Cowher said it was difficult to tell on video tape how the injury occurred.
Roethlisberger was examined before practice ended and returned for the conditioning and stretching drills that end each workout. He was held out of practice Thursday, and the team will decide Friday if he will play Saturday in the second of the Steelers' four exhibition games.
"He feels better today than he did yesterday," Cowher said Thursday. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow. If he feels OK tomorrow, he'll play Saturday.
There's no indication we have to do any kind of tests or anything."
If Roethlisberger can't play, backup Charlie Batch will start but won't play any longer than the rest of the starters, or about one quarter. Rookie Omar Jacobs and free agent Shane Boyd would play the rest of the way.