PITTSBURGH - Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger, the youngest quarterback to lead a team to the Super Bowl championship, broke his jaw and nose in a motorcycle crash Monday in which he was not wearing a helmet.
The player's agent, Leigh Steinberg, described the injuries to The Associated Press and said he did not know if there was further damage.
Dr. Larry Jones, chief of trauma at Mercy Hospital said before surgery that Roethlisberger was in serious but stable condition.
"He was talking to me before he left for the operating room," Jones said. "He's coherent. He's making sense. He knows what happened. He knows where he is. From that standpoint, he's very stable."
Roethlisberger's mother, Brenda, was crying as she arrived at the hospital.
Steelers president Art Rooney II said the team was "encouraged by the early reports from the medical team" at the hospital. "I am sure Ben knows that we are praying for his complete recovery."
The 24-year-old Roethlisberger was without a helmet, police said. He has said he likes to ride without one, a habit that once prompted a lecture from Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher.
Roethlisberger was on his black 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa - the company calls it the world's fastest bike for legal street riding - and heading toward an intersection on the edge of downtown. A Chrysler New Yorker traveling in the opposite direction took a left turn and collided with the motorcycle, and Roethlisberger was thrown, police said.
The other car was driven by a 62-year-old woman, police said. They didn't immediately release her name and no charges were filed.
Witness Sandra Ford was waiting at a bus stop at the time and ran to the scene when she heard the crash.
"He wasn't moving and I was afraid that he had died. ... He wasn't really speaking. He seemed dazed but he was resisting the effort to make him stay down," said Ford, who didn't realize the motorcyclist was Roethlisberger.