(Updated: 10:15 p.m.)
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Less than 24 hours after a disappointing 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens anxiously awaited the prognosis for injured linebacker Terrell Suggs and his availability for the final quarter of the regular season.
As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Suggs suffered a torn right biceps in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss and is seeking a second opinion to determine whether he can continue playing with the injury. The five-time Pro Bowl linebacker provided an update via his Twitter account on Monday night.
“Waiting on 2nd opinion,” Suggs tweeted. “Will keep ya’ll posted. Don’t panic! We do this every year! The MISSION is still the same.”
Miami Dophins linebacker Karlos Dansby is currently playing with a torn biceps, but the extent of the damage will determine how realistic it will be for Suggs to stay on the field. According to sports injury expert Will Carroll, the key to playing with the injury will be how much pain Suggs can withstand.
In an ideal world, of course, the Ravens would like to be able to give Suggs time to rest the injury, but they may not have that luxury while fighting for a first-round bye.
“What you do with the biceps, you think of going to the gym and doing curls,” Carroll told WNST.net. “You pull things to you. With a triceps, you push things away. Maybe you can’t wrap a guy up with both arms quite as tight, but you can play a little bit more with a biceps tear. The trick, of course, is pain tolerance.”
Suggs declined to speak to reporters in the locker room following Sunday’s game, only saying he would be “all right.” He didn’t appear to be wearing a sling or other apparatus to protect the arm.
“He has an injury in his upper-arm area,” coach John Harbaugh said during his Monday afternoon press conference. “That’s being evaluated further today. We don’t know the extent of it. We’ve got an idea what it is. It needs to be evaluated as far as coming back and possibly playing this week or not going forward. We’ll just have ot see where that is. We should know by [Tuesday] or Wednesday at the latest.”
The Ravens head coach expressed optimism that it would not be a long-term ailment. Suggs missed the first six games of the regular season while on the physically unable to perform list as he recovered from offseason Achilles tendon surgery.
Reactions to Suggs’ injury were mixed in the Baltimore locker room following Sunday’s game as a few expressed concern that the injury was serious while others believed the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year wouldn’t be sidelined for long.
“I think we are encouraged that it may not be [serious], and we’ll just have to see,” Harbaugh said. “If I knew that for sure or could say it for sure, I would. I just can’t right now, but we have some encouragement there.”
After missing Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is expected to have a good chance to return to action against the Washington Redskins in Landover on Sunday.
Listed as questionable, the fourth-year linebacker was declared inactive as Albert McClellan shifted to the inside and shared time with veteran Brendon Ayanbadejo and former practice squad member Josh Bynes. Linebackers struggled in pass coverage as they bit on screen-pass looks and lost receivers over the middle of the field, according to Harbaugh.
Ellerbe is regarded as the Ravens’ best coverage linebacker and is second on the team with 81 tackles this season.
“We anticipate he’s got a chance to get back this week,” Harbaugh said. “We were hopeful for this past game, but it just didn’t work out. [We] took him right to the game day and he was unable to go.”
The Ravens also struggled to replace tight end Ed Dickson, who missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury suffered in San Diego last week. Third-string tight end Billy Bajema was used in Dickson’s place in blocking situations early in the game, but the Ravens appeared to use pass-catching tight end Dennis Pitta in an expanded role as the game progressed.
Harbaugh expressed optimism that Dickson could return to action this week after testing out the knee on Monday.
“Ed Dickson did some running today, so we’re just going to see how the knee continues to develop,” Harbaugh said. “There’s no injury in there; it was kind of a hyperextension deal, so he has a chance [to play against the Redskins].”
Second-year cornerback Jimmy Smith continues to recover from sports hernia surgery and is still on target to return before the end of the regular season.
“Jimmy Smith continues to get better,” Harbaugh said. “He’ll be moving around a little bit this week. We’ll see how that goes.”
Harbaugh also provided a Ray Lewis update, saying the 37-year-old linebacker continues to rehab at the team’s Owings Mills facility.
Lewis was eligible to return to the practice field last Thursday and would be able to come off injured reserve to play against the Denver Broncos in Week 15, eight weeks after he was placed on IR with the designation to return. It remains unclear when the 17-year linebacker will return to the practice field, but media reports over the weekend offered more legs to the speculation of Lewis making his return against Peyton Manning’s Broncos.
“Ray is here rehabbing. We’ll see how that goes this week moving forward,” Harbaugh said. “Nothing to report there. When there is, we’ll let you know.”