Quarterback Joe Flacco had a rare absence from practice Wednesday because of a right shoulder injury he suffered in Sunday's loss to the New York Giants.
The injury puts Flacco's status in jeopardy for Sunday's matchup with the New York Jets, but the Ravens quarterback expressed optimism about being able to return for the game.
"It's nothing to worry about," he said. "I have a little shoulder soreness, so I just thought it was best to take the day off and come back and see how it feels tomorrow."
Flacco didn't even realize he was hurt until he went to the locker room after the Giants game. He then received attention from the medical staff and got an MRI to determine the extent of the damage.
Flacco and Head Coach John Harbaugh didn't get into specifics of what the MRI revealed, but they said the injury is not a long-term concern.
"Really it's just about getting to the point where I feel like I can go out there and sufficiently throw the ball," Flacco said. "I think a little bit of rest right now is probably the best thing."
If the shoulder issue lingers into the weekend, Ryan Mallett would get the starting nod. Practice squad quarterback David Fales would then probably get pulled up to the active roster to serve as the backup.
"Joe will be out there if he can, but there's not a tougher guy than Joe," Harbaugh said. "And to me, he will be out there. It's my belief he will be out there. But the way it heals is the way it heals. We'll see."
Flacco is known as one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league. The first time he missed a game was last year after suffering a season-ending torn ACL. He had hardly even missed a practice before that since coming into the league in 2008.
Since returning from the knee injury, Flacco hadn't missed a practice until Wednesday.
"He plays through injuries just like all of us do. He's a tough guy," tight end Dennis Pitta said. "His track record speaks for itself. He only missed time because of the ACL last year. He's played through a ton of injuries throughout his career and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he plays through another this week. I keep getting in his ear telling him he needs to suck it up and play."
Flacco expects to have a good idea about his status for the game before getting to the weekend. When asked if he anticipates being a game-time decision, Flacco responded, "I sure hope not. I really don't know to be honest with you. I hope I come in here and start feeling pretty good."
He also acknowledged that he could have to fight through some pain to get on the field.
"It's not about being pain free," he said. "You can deal with a little pain. It's just about making sure you can throw the ball good enough to go out there and help your team."
As Flacco works to get healthy, the Ravens will have their contingency plans in place. Mallett took the first-teams reps in practice Wednesday, and he has plenty of experience under his belt.
Mallett started two games last season for the Ravens, including a Week 16 victory over Pittsburgh. Mallett threw for 274 yards with a touchdown in that upset over the rival Steelers.
"Ryan has started in this league, and that will not be a problem if he plays," Harbaugh said. "And I'll feel very confident if Ryan Mallett is out there playing."