The Ravens have lost another inside linebacker to injury.
Starting middle linebacker Jameel McClain has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Broncos after suffering a neck/back injury last week against the Redskins.
"Jameel McClain will not make it to this game," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. "We're taking a look at the neck/back. Nothing major there, but he will not make it to this game and we're going to do some more tests and things like that just to see down the road where he'll be."
McClain suffered the injury in the second half and was unable to return after coming to the sidelines.
This will be the first game McClain has missed in his five-year career, and it will also end McClain's streak of 45 consecutive starts.
McClain currently ranks second on the team with 79 tackles, and he has been the anchor in the middle of the defense since veteran Ray Lewis went down with a torn triceps muscle in Week 6. The Ravens could potentially get Lewis back on the field this week, but Harbaugh did not indicate how good of a chance he has to play.
Dannell Ellerbe, who started at inside linebacker when Lewis went down, is also dealing with an injury (ankle) and has missed the last two games. It's also unknown if he will be able to return this weekend.
If the Ravens are without McClain, Lewis and Ellerbe, then Brendon Ayanbadejo and Josh Bynes will take the bulk of the reps at inside linebacker. Albert McClellan, who has started at outside linebacker, could also move inside to help provide some depth in the middle of the defense.
Ellerbe, Yanda Held Out Of Practice
Ellerbe was held out of Wednesday's practice, but he told reporters that he will try to practice later this week to determine if he is ready to return for Sunday's matchup.
"I'm going to try to give it a go Friday and see how it feels and I'm going to do my best to get the guys ready if I can't go," Ellerbe told reporters. "It's just something that's hard to deal with."
In addition to Ellerbe, the Ravens had five other players who sat out Wednesday, including right guard Marshal Yanda. He suffered an ankle injury against the Redskins and will undergo further testing this week to determine if is able to play this week.
"Marshal is a great player, obviously. If he's not able to go then that's unfortunate," center Matt Birk said. "It's only Wednesday, so we'll see how it goes. Marshal, you can check, he's traditionally been a pretty fast healer. Like a couple years ago when he had to have his leg sliced open and six days later he's playing."
The other players who sat out practice were defensive tackle Arthur Jones (shoulder), fullback Vonta Leach (ankle), defensive end Pernell McPhee (thigh) and safety Bernard Pollard (chest).
Suggs, Rice Limited
The Ravens hope to get outside linebacker Terrell Suggs back on the field this week after missing Sunday's game with a biceps injury. Suggs was limited Wednesday, and said he plans to speak with the media Thursday. Harbaugh did not have an update on his status.
Running backs Ray Rice (hip pointer) and Bernard Pierce (back) were also limited after suffering injuries in Sunday's game.
Starting tight end Ed Dickson (knee), who has missed the last two games, returned to practice in a limited capacity Wednesday.
"It's day-to-day and I'm living in the treatment center getting it ready," Dickson said. "I don't want to be out there 50 percent, that's not going to help the team."
J. Smith A Full Participant
Second-year cornerback Jimmy Smith was a full participant Wednesday for the first time since returning from a sports hernia operation. Smith was limited in practice all of last week.
It would be a big boost for the secondary to get Smith back in the lineup this week, but Harbaugh did not specify on how good of a chance Smith has to play. He has not played since Week 9.
The other full participants were safety Ed Reed (shoulder), wide receivers Jacoby Jones (ankle), LaQuan Williams (thigh) and Deonte Thompson (thigh).
Veteran linebacker Ray Lewis was not on the practice field during the portion open to the media. Lewis is still on injured reserve-designated to return stemming from a torn triceps muscle suffered in Week 6, and he doesn't have to be included on the injury report since he's not on the active roster.