OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens desperately seek to get healthier for their Week 16 meeting with the New York Giants, head coach John Harbaugh didn’t offer much of an idea on which players might be returning to action this Sunday.
Aside from the announcement of linebacker Jameel McClain’s season coming to an end, Harbaugh offered the typical wait-and-see approach he’s expressed to media as the Ravens have dealt with a plethora of injuries. Of the Ravens’ seven inactives for Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos, five were starters, including strong safety Bernard Pollard and right guard Marshal Yanda.
“We’ll just see if they can practice and how much they can practice,” Harbaugh said. “We have some optimism with that. The guys that are out from last week, Marshal and Bernard, we’ll see how they go as the week goes along. Ed Dickson, the same. That’s really it on injury stuff.”
Yanda (ankle) and Pollard (chest) missed all three practices last week and were considered highly unlikely to play despite being listed as questionable on the final injury report. Dickson, who has now missed three straight games, was listed as doubtful despite practicing on a limited basis last week after two weeks in which he was completely sidelined with a hyperextended knee.
The Ravens added two names to the list of concerns as wide receiver Torrey Smith and backup running back Bernard Pierce sustained concussions against the Broncos. Their status will depend on symptoms subsiding and both player passing the baseline neurological test to clear them for contact.
“We’ll see as the week goes on how those guys progress from those things,” Harbaugh said. “Obviously, those things are unpredictable.”
Wide receiver Tandon Doss (ankle) and linebacker Albert McClellan (hamstring) also suffered minor injuries but are expected to be ready to play this week.
When asked how close Pollard was to being able to play against Denver, Harbaugh quickly squashed any notion that he’d speculate about his or any other players’ chances of returning to action this week.
“I’m not getting into all that,” Harbaugh said. “Close, not close? What difference does it make?”
In addition to Pollard, Yanda, and Dickson, the Ravens will hope to see the return of linebackers Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe this week.
Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs returned to action two weeks after suffering a torn biceps in Week 13 against Pittsburgh, but he was limited to just 42 of the Ravens’ 77 defensive snaps. The 2011 Defensive Player of the Year appeared to be laboring at several different points, even taking himself out of the game on a couple occasions.
Suggs finished with only one tackle as he employed a four-point stance to take some of the weight off his injured right arm when lining up to rush the passer. The linebacker declined talking to media after the 17-point loss on Sunday.
“I thought he played well,” said Harbaugh, who took issue with a reporter’s observation that Suggs was playing with a lot of pain. “I thought he fought and battled out there. He has a lot of courage. He is a fighter. I like Terrell Suggs. He is a warrior.”
Second-year cornerback Jimmy Smith also made his return after being sidelined the last five games and undergoing sports hernia surgery on Nov. 15. However, he participated in only 12 snaps and surrendered a 14-yard reception to Denver wide receiver Eric Decker that set up the Broncos’ first touchdown of the game.
The defensive back did not offer a positive review of his play following Sunday’s loss as he shared duties in the nickel package with reserve corners Chris Johnson and Chykie Brown. Harbaugh shared in that assessment and didn’t commit to an increased workload for Smith against the Giants.
“He wasn’t 100 percent out there, and that’s something that you really don’t know until you get into the game,” Harbaugh said. “Unfortunately, he wasn’t as quick as I would have hoped he would be. We’ll just have to see how he does this week.”