Big Ben could be back soon. Very soon.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, and head coach Mike Tomlin ruled him out of Sunday’s matchup against the New England Patriots. 

After talking with a doctor about the details of Roethlisberger’s injury and procedure, NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala told NESN.com’s Michaela Vernava on “Between the Tackles” that Roethlisberger could, in theory, play Sunday.

“Pretty much now it’s about pain management and getting a return of his full range of motion,” Kinkhabwala said. “So, I don’t think (Roethlisberger)’s out for the long term, and truthfully if this were a playoff game, he might even be able to play.”

The decision to keep Roethlisberger out Sunday could be a strategic one made by the Steelers with the future in mind. As Kinkhabwala pointed out, Pittsburgh has a bye the following week which gives Roethlisberger a full two weeks to heal before a big divisional matchup with the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9. 

“The Steelers are taking the long view,” she said. “They don’t think this is the last time they’re going to see the Patriots this season and they obviously want Roethlisberger to be 100 percent and have no ill effects.”

Click to hear Kinkhabwala on “Between the Tackles” >>

Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images