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Who's Playing, Who's Not vs. Broncos

Posted Dec 14, 2012

The Ravens will have a lot of injury decisions to make over the weekend.

The Ravens’ injuries have become so comprehensive that Head Coach John Harbaugh isn’t even sure if he’ll have enough healthy players to dress Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

“Will we have enough healthy guys to get to 46? That’s a consideration,” Harbaugh said.

As of Friday, the Ravens still don’t know the status of a handful of big-name players. There are too many close calls.

After ruling out inside linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), Harbaugh declined to go into detail about the Ravens’ other injuries.

“Really the rest of the guys are going to be up in the air,” he said.

“We’ve got an idea on some guys. We have a lesser idea on some other guys. It’s just not information that we are going to put out there. We’re just going to let it go until Sunday.”

The Ravens’ final injury report included 17 players, including 11 starters.

Baltimore has been listing a lot of players since it received a fine for not including safety Ed Reed on the injury report earlier this year. But some of those players didn’t miss practice and weren’t much of a question mark for games.

This week, the vast majority of players on the Ravens’ lengthy injury report have noteworthy ailments.

Linebacker Shuffle

The Ravens’ linebacker corps is up in the air.

Ray Lewis’ return from his triceps injury remains in question. He’s still on the injured reserve – designated for return list, and would need to be activated from that over the weekend.

Lewis was at practice for the portion open to the media Thursday and Friday. He declined interviews in the locker room afterwards, and is not on the injury report because he’s not on the active roster.

“I’m not getting into percentages of [him playing]. I really don’t know,” Harbaugh said Wednesday.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (biceps) practiced fully on Thursday and Friday, but said “we’ll just have to wait and see.” He indicated that there is still some pain during contact.

Suggs was close last week to playing in Washington, but part of the reason he didn’t play was because of slick conditions. He’s listed as questionable.

Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (ankle) improved throughout the week after missing two straight games. He didn’t practice Wednesday, and was limited Thursday and Friday. His status is questionable.

“Anytime you get to rest your injury it’s beneficial,” Ellerbe said. “I’m looking forward to being out there. I’m going to work it [out] before the game, and if I feel good I’m going to go. If not, I’m not going to hurt the team. It’s definitely feeling better.”

Yanda Going To Grit It Out Again?

It appears that Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda could show his toughness once again.

He didn’t practice all week because of a “somewhat serious ankle sprain,” but is still listed as questionable.

“Marshal is a great player, obviously. If he’s not able to go then that’s unfortunate,” center Matt Birk said Wednesday.

But he wasn’t ready to rule him out just yet.

“Marshal, you can check, he’s traditionally been a pretty fast healer,” Birk said with a grin. “Like [last year] when he had to have his leg sliced open and six days later he’s playing.”

If Yanda can’t play, veteran Bobbie Williams would be in line to start Sunday against Denver. Williams played right guard for most of his 13-year career despite starting four games at left guard for the Ravens earlier this season.

“It’s kind of like getting back on the bike again,” Williams said of playing right guard. “It’s fun.”

Pollard Also Fighting To Play

Safety Bernard Pollard has been dealing with a rib injury since Week 2 against Philadelphia.

But that injury may have worsened recently. Pollard did not practice at all this week.

The hard-hitting safety may still suit up, however. He’s only missed four games in his seven-year career.

“He’s doing a great job fighting through that,” Harbaugh said Monday. “There’s no tougher guy, football player, than Bernard Pollard.”

If Pollard’s not able to suit up, the Ravens would likely turn to safety James Ihedigbo, who was a 12-game starter last year in New England and has 14 tackles and one sack this season in Baltimore.

Who’s Going To Play Defensive End?

Defensive end Pernell McPhee missed four games due to knee and thigh injuries. After returning for two games, that pesky thigh could sit him down once again.

McPhee sat out of practice Wednesday and Thursday, and was limited on Friday. He is listed as questionable.

“I feel a little bit better,” McPhee said Friday. “Do I want to play? [Heck] yes. Is that the best option for the team? I don't know.”

Defensive tackle Art Jones has been the player stepping in for McPhee, but he’s hampered by a shoulder injury. Jones didn’t practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday. He’s questionable to play.

If Jones can’t suit up, the Ravens would likely turn to first-round linebacker Courtney Upshaw and seventh-rounder DeAngelo Tyson at defensive end.

J. Smith Possibly Returning

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (sports hernia) could be back for his first game since Nov. 4 against the Cleveland Browns.

He practiced fully throughout the week and is listed as questionable to play. The Ravens pushed Smith throughout practice to see what he could handle.

"I feel really good,” Smith said Thursday. "No setbacks since the surgery. I’ve been out there running pretty fast and moving like I should, so I feel pretty good.”

If Smith returns to the field, it sets up the question of who will start between Smith and Corey Graham, who has played well in Smith’s absence.

Leach Is Questionable

Fullback Vonta Leach (ankle) returned to the practice field in a limited capacity on Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday.

The physical blocker, who hasn’t missed a game since 2006, is listed as questionable.

Leach talked about matching up against Denver’s physical defense, however, sounding like he’ll play.

“Our offense, once again, is going to have its hands full with another good defense,” Leach said.

Dickson Doubtful To Play

Tight end Ed Dickson is still working through his knee injury and is still doubtful to return.

Dickson was limited in practice throughout the week. He hasn’t played since Nov. 18 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, so he has missed three games.

“It’s day-to-day and I’m living in the treatment center getting it ready,” Dickson said Wednesday. “I don’t want to be out there 50 percent, that’s not going to help the team.”

Pierce Probable, And Other Ravens

Backup running back Bernard Pierce (back) was limited in practice throughout the week, but is listed as probable.

Other Ravens listed as probable are cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), wide receiver Jacoby Jones (ankle), Reed (shoulder), running back Ray Rice (hip), wide receiver Deonte Thompson (thigh) and wide receiver LaQuan Williams (thigh).

Denver Is Healthy By Comparison

The Broncos have only five players on their injury report and two starters in question.

Starting right guard Chris Kuper (ankle) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (ankle) were both limited in practice throughout the week and are listed as questionable.

The Broncos listed three wide receivers as probable: Trindon Holliday (knee), Demaryius Thomas (shoulder) and Matthew Willis (knee).

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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