Ravens feeling fine with bye week behind them, Houston ahead

January 09, 2012 | Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With the luxury of an extra week of rest and treatment for their ailing players, the Ravens appear to have taken full advantage of their bye week as they now shift their focuses to the AFC South champion Texans.

Six days before Houston travels to M&T Bank Stadium for the divisional round, the Ravens look to be as healthy as they can reasonably expect after the extensive infirmary report that plagued them during the final few weeks of the regular season.

“We look good,” Harbaugh said. “[I] anticipate everybody playing in the game.”

The two biggest concerns appear to be linebackers Jameel McClain and Brendon Ayanbadejo. McClain did not practice during the bye week after spraining his MCL in the win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. Ayanbadejo is dealing with a quadriceps injury and sat out all last week and appears to be the more concerning injury of the two at this point.

However, Harbaugh says both are improving after the extra week to rest.

“Jameel and Brendon are working through their knee issues, but they should be good,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see how they practice.”

The Ravens have dealt with a number of concussed players over the final weeks of the season, but Harbaugh expects cornerback Jimmy Smith, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, and safety Tom Zbikowski to all be available against the Texans. The three have not been allowed to partake in contact but are expected to be cleared by Tuesday, according to the Baltimore coach.

There is also no apparent concern over the status of veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who missed the final two games of the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a partially-torn meniscus, an injury he dealt with the entire season before it grew worse in late December. Boldin participated in practice last week and told reporters he is feeling better than he had all season long prior to the procedure.

“He looks fine, and he’s been running on it,” Harbaugh said. “So, he should be 100 percent.”

Harbaugh also eliminated any lingering doubt regarding the health of veteran linebacker Ray Lewis. The 36-year-old’s play has come under scrutiny since returning in Week 15 after missing four games with a turf toe injury. His struggles in pass coverage have been the main focus of criticism, causing some to suggest the possibility of Lewis coming off the field in passing situations.

Although Lewis sat out both practices during the bye week, his head coach insists he is playing at full strength.

“He’s 100 percent,” Harbaugh said. “Any report to the contrary is absolutely untrue. His toe is 100 percent. [It] has been for a couple weeks.”

The Ravens conducted a light practice on Monday and will receive their customary day off on Tuesday before returning to work on Wednesday morning to continue preparations for the Texans, whom the Ravens defeated 29-14 in Baltimore on Oct. 16.

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