OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens will once again be without starting wide receiver Lee Evans and suddenly have reason to be more concerned in the secondary.
The Ravens ruled out Evans as well as Jimmy Smith, Haruki Nakamura, and David Reed for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, but a more concerning development may have been cornerback Chris Carr’s return to the injury report after not practicing on Friday. He is listed as questionable along with left guard Ben Grubbs, who will be a game-time decision, according to coach John Harbaugh.
With Domonique Foxworth being placed on injured reserve on Wednesday and the rookie Smith sidelined until after the bye, the Ravens were already thin at cornerback and counting on Carr to hold down the No. 3 corner spot behind Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams. Carr made it through the Week 3 win over the Rams without incident and was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
If Carr cannot play or is limited against the Jets, the Ravens would be looking at former practice-squad defensive back Danny Gorrer and rookie Chykie Brown as the No. 3 and 4 corners. Baltimore would normally turn to Haruki Nakamura as a possible option at the nickel position, but the safety is out with a knee injury until after the bye week.
“We’d probably like to have at least one more corner that is healthy, but we don’t have that luxury right now,” Harbaugh said on Wednesday before the latest development with Carr. “It’s definitely [something] we could address, just depending on what’s available out there. But, I’m comfortable with the guys we have. You talk about the guys we just brought in, Danny Gorrer — he’s an up-and-coming guy — and Chykie Brown’s a very talented young corner who grows everyday. Those guys are good players.”
Evans was ruled out on Friday for the second straight week as he continues to deal with an ankle injury that’s affected him since playing in the third preseason game against Washington in August. The decision means the Ravens will go with rookie Torrey Smith as the starter opposite Anquan Boldin with fellow first-year players Tandon Doss and LaQuan Williams working in as the third receiver.
Frustration continues to grow over the status of Evans’ left ankle. The 30-year-old describes the ailment as “stress” in the muscle and bone in the high ankle area but said there is no break or fracture.
“As a coach, you start thinking, ‘What’s the deal?'” Harbaugh said. “We’ll just have to see where it goes. I’m planning on him being back for the Houston game [on Oct. 16], but we’ll have to see.”
With two extra weeks of rest after the Ravens have their bye next week, Evans will not have played since the Ravens’ loss to the Titans on Sept. 18. The veteran is encouraged by the improvement made with the ankle and hopes to be ready when the Ravens welcome the Texans to town in two weeks.
“Nothing’s certain in this world, but it has a much higher probability of happening now than it did before” Evans said. “I’m feeling good with what we’ve done so far, so I’m shooting for the Texans, no doubt.”
Grubbs is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis Thursday but not participating in Friday’s workout. Veteran lineman Andre Gurode was working at left guard in Grubbs’ place and would make his second straight start if Grubbs is held out with a lingering right toe injury.
“He didn’t do as much today,” Harbaugh said. “I think we’re more concerned with the toe healing than we are with the reps. It’s going to be a game-time decision. We’ll put him out there and let him play if he can. It’s been three weeks with a toe, so I think he’s got a pretty good chance, but you just can’t control that stuff. We’ll have to see what happens.”
Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is doubtful after missing practice all week with a hamstring injury suffered against St. Louis last Sunday.
OUT – WR Lee Evans (ankle), S Haruki Nakamura (knee), CB Jimmy Smith (ankle), WR David Reed (shoulder)
DOUBTFUL – LB Dannell Ellerbe (thigh)
QUESTIONABLE – G Ben Grubbs (toe), CB Chris Carr (thigh)
PROBABLE – C Matt Birk (knee), DE Cory Redding (toe)
OUT – WR Logan Payne (wrist)
QUESTIONABLE – C Nick Mangold (ankle)
PROBABLE – WR Santonio Holmes (shoulder), WR Plaxico Burress (hamstring), CB Antonio Cromartie (ribs), LB David Harris (toe), DL Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder), DL Mike DeVito (shoulder)