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Who’s Playing, Who’s Not at Bengals

Posted Dec 28, 2012

The Ravens could rest some starters versus Cincinnati.


With playoff implications of Sunday’s game minimized, and only a small chance of moving up to the No. 3 seed within reach, the question this week in Baltimore has been whether (and who) the Ravens will rest.

On Friday, Head Coach John Harbaugh said the team has a plan. But he’s not sharing it.

“We have thoughts on it. We have a plan going in,” Harbaugh said, noting that it could change.

“We have a number of guys who are banged up a little bit, and some of those guys will play and some of those guys won’t. We will go in there to win the game. We will have 46 guys active, and it will be the 46 best guys that are available to us – like always – and we will go play.”

The Ravens want to go into the playoffs as healthy as possible, and that could mean sitting some players with nagging injuries or pulling other major contributors.

But with a 53-man roster that shrinks to 46 on gameday, they don’t have the option of benching all their starters to stay healthy. At the same time, the Ravens could opt to give some of their starters rest and their reserves extra time.

However, Harbaugh was clear that Sunday won’t feel like an exhibition game where starters are yanked by halftime or earlier.

“No, you can’t do that,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not possible to do that. You don’t have the numbers to do that, and this is a regular-season game. This is too important for that.”

Ngata, Yanda Don’t Practice

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and guard Marshal Yanda could be two candidates to get Week 17 off. Neither practiced all week and they are listed as questionable.

Their injuries don’t appear serious, however.

Ngata was hindered by knee and shoulder injuries earlier this season, but had been getting healthier after taking a game off against Oakland. He has performed better in recent weeks and recorded his fifth sack of the season against the Giants last week.

On Thursday, Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees indicated that he wouldn’t have any concern about Ngata’s status if he were to play this Sunday.

“He’s been banged up, seems like kind of all year here and there,” Pees said. “He’s getting some well-deserved rest.”

Yanda missed the Week 15 game against Denver, but returned to the field last week against the Giants and sat out just five snaps when the game was all but over.

Boldin Limited All Week

The only new injury the Ravens announced coming out of last week’s game was a shoulder bruise suffered by wide receiver Anquan Boldin when he made a diving catch.

The veteran was limited in practice this week, and is listed as questionable. He could be another player who sees time off to make sure he’s totally healthy for the playoffs.

Wide receiver Tandon Doss (ankle) was also limited in practice this week and is questionable to play. He missed last week’s game, but would be the natural candidate to step in if Boldin were to sit. The Ravens could also get a look at wide receiver David Reed.

Lewis Probable But Won’t Play

Linebacker Ray Lewis (triceps) was a full practice participant this week, a good sign that he may be ready to play.

That won’t be this week against the Bengals, however. Even though Lewis is listed as probable to play, Harbaugh ruled him out of action.

“We’ll look at him at the playoffs,” Harbaugh said last Sunday, and confirmed again Wednesday when Lewis was activated. “The fact that there was some patience on Ray’s part and our part, it turned out well.”

Other Questionable, Probable Ravens

Fullback Vonta Leach has been nursing an ankle injury since the Ravens’ Week 13 game against Pittsburgh.

It hasn’t knocked Leach out of a game yet, but he’s been in and out of practice. Leach was limited on Wednesday and Friday but did not practice Thursday.

Defensive end Arthur Jones (thigh) and linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder/thigh), who did not play against the Giants, were limited throughout the week and are questionable to play.

The Ravens’ other probable players are: linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (ankle), wide receiver Jacoby Jones (ankle), defensive end Pernell McPhee (thigh), tight end Dennis Pitta (knee), safety Bernard Pollard (chest), safety Ed Reed (shoulder), cornerback Jimmy Smith (abdomen) and linebacker Terrell Suggs (biceps).

Bengals Rule Out Kicker Nugent

The Bengals will be without starting kicker Mike Nugent (right calf) Sunday, meaning veteran backup Josh Brown will play in his fourth game. Brown has gone 8-for-9 since stepping in for Nugent.

A pair of cornerbacks, starter Terrence Newman (groin) and reserve Jason Allen (hamstring), are questionable. If Newman is out, the Bengals would likely turn to Adam “Pacman” Jones.

Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (illness), cornerback Adam Jones (hamstring) and safety Reggie Nelson (shoulder) are all probable.

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