If there was a bright spot after Sunday's season-ending loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, it was the long-term status of quarterback Joe Flacco's left knee.
Flacco told reporters after Sunday's loss that he will not need surgery to repair the knee injury that hindered him the final two weeks of the season.
"I'm not going to have to get anything done," Flacco said. "It was just my MCL and it will heal on its own."
Flacco also suffered a scare in Sunday's game when he was hit in the end zone and immediately fell to the turf grabbing his injured leg. The television broadcast showed him screaming in pain, but Flacco said that the play did not make the injury worse.
"It just doesn't bend that well, and when the guy landed on me, he just bent it all up into the top of my chest," Flacco said. "It didn't do any more (damage) to my knee; it just hurt for a while — that's all."
Flacco originally suffered the injury in Week 15 against the Lions when blitzing linebacker DeAndre Levy fell into his planted left leg and collapsed it inward. He played through the injury to finish that game and was then fitted for a brace to wear* *during the final two weeks of the season.
The Ravens said that Flacco was playing at less than 100 percent, but he stressed that the knee was not a factor in his performance. In the final two games of the season, Flacco completed 59 percent of his passes with one touchdown and five interceptions.
Despite the down season numbers, Flacco's teammates praised him for the way he fought through the injury.
"Joe was a warrior this year and he is going to take a lot of heat," wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "He fought through so many things this year. He battled and he didn't quit. He didn't point the finger at anyone. And I think that's a credit to him. Obviously this offseason we're going to get back to it and make sure we have his back because he shouldn't have been in the position he is right now."
Flacco took a beating over the course of the season and finished the year with 48 sacks, second most in the NFL. Despite all the hits, he still never missed a game and continued his streak of starting every game of his career.