OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Turning a new page with the dismissal of Cam Cameron and the promotion of Jim Caldwell to the offensive coordinator position, the Ravens now redirect their attention to an extensive list of health concerns heading into a Week 15 meeting with the red-hot Denver Broncos.
Linebacker Terrell Suggs’ status continues to be a major question mark, but the Ravens added another marquee name to the list of walking wounded after Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda suffered a sprained ankle in the opening series of overtime in Baltimore’s 31-28 loss to the Redskins. The sixth-year lineman left the locker room on crutches but was able to put weight on the injured ankle before he was fitted with a walking boot.
Coach John Harbaugh expressed concern over Yanda’s status moving forward as the offensive lineman will undergo further testing this week. Veteran Bobbie Williams would presumably take over at the right guard position should Yanda miss any game action.
“We’ll continue to have [his ankle] evaluated, and we’ll let you know later in the week — once he gets an MRI on that — exactly how serious that is,” Harbaugh said. “But, it seems like a somewhat serious ankle sprain, but it is not an ankle break in any way.”
Suggs missed his first game since suffering a torn right biceps in the Ravens’ Week 13 loss to Pittsburgh as he was deemed unready to play against Washington. The 30-year-old linebacker has vowed to play again this season and avoid injured reserve, but he has also acknowledged his need to be effective in addition to questions over how much pain he can tolerate.
The rainy conditions at FedEx Field also contributed to the decision for Suggs to sit out, according to the head coach. Harbaugh said the Pro Bowl linebacker has a “good chance” to play against the Broncos after missing his seventh game of the season on Sunday.
“He was close. That was a decision right before the game that was made between he and I,” Harbaugh said. “We just decided the conditions and those kinds of things, it was better for him safety-wise to not play in that game.”
The Ravens could also see the return of inside linebacker Ray Lewis, who began practicing last week and is now eligible to be activated from injured reserve after making a remarkable recovery from right triceps surgery. Lewis suffered the tear in the Ravens’ win over the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 14 and was placed on IR with the designation to return later that week.
Should Lewis play against the Broncos, it would be just over eight weeks after he underwent surgery to repair the tear. The typical recovery time for that type of injury is a minimum of four months.
“He’s making good progress, and we’ll just have to see how he practices this week,” Harbaugh said. “Going into Wednesday, we’ll know a lot more, I think, because he’s going to push it a little bit over the next two days. I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out.”
Harbaugh offered good news on inside linebacker Jameel McClain, who suffered an injured neck in the second half of Sunday’s game and didn’t return. McClain’s loss forced the Ravens to use Albert McClellan, Brendon Ayanbadejo, and former practice squad member Josh Bynes at inside linebacker since Dannell Ellerbe missed his second straight game with an ankle injury.
McClain tied for the team lead with eight tackles despite missing a significant portion of the game.
“He’s got to get some testing done, but he should be OK,” Harbaugh said. “That’s standard procedure.”
Tight end Ed Dickson and cornerback Jimmy Smith may also return to game action this week, depending on how well they progress in practices. The third-year tight end has missed the last two games after suffering a hyperextended knee in the Ravens’ win at San Diego on Nov. 25.
Smith has missed the Ravens’ last five road games and underwent sports hernia surgery on Nov. 15. The 2011 first-round pick returned to practice on a limited basis last week before he was listed as doubtful for the Washington game.
“Ed Dickson looks better. He ran a little bit today, so he’ll have a chance to go on Sunday,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see. And Jimmy Smith, the same thing. We’ll take a look on Sunday and see how he looks in the week leading up to Sunday.”
Harbaugh also mentioned a number of players dealing with minor injuries including running backs Ray Rice (left hip contusion), Bernard Pierce (lower back strain), and Vonta Leach (ankle), defensive linemen Arthur Jones (right shoulder bruise) and Pernell McPhee (groin), and safety Bernard Pollard (ribs). None of those players are believed to be in danger of missing Sunday’s game.
The Ravens coach went out of his way to compliment Pollard for pushing through the rib injury he initially sustained against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. The strong safety hasn’t missed any game action despite dealing with the injury and regularly receiving treatment after practices and games.
“Bernard continues to work with the ribs,” Harbaugh said. “He’s doing a great job fighting through that. There’s no tougher guy — football player — than Bernard Pollard.”