Ray Lewis may not be done for the year after all.
Lewis has been placed on injured reserve, but with a special designation that allows him to possibly return later on this season. He's having surgery on his right triceps today.
"There's an opportunity [for him to return] and we are going to keep the door open," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
According to NFL rules, Lewis would be able to return by Dec. 12 (Week 15) at the earliest. His health and recovery will determine whether that, or any comeback this season, is possible.
Reports indicate that it takes four to six months to recover from a full triceps tear. Harbaugh announced Monday that Lewis indeed suffered a full tear.
Harbaugh, who originally said Lewis would be out for the rest of the year just five minutes after hearing from doctors, seemed to acknowledge that a return is still a longshot.
"We have no idea whether that [six-week] time frame has anything to do with the injury," he said. "Obviously, it's a very serious injury."
But the Ravens at least have the possibility of getting Lewis back on the field if heals faster than expected.
Baltimore is able to make this move because of a new rule instituted this year, which allows one player per team to be given reserve/injured – designated for return tag.
Only a player with a "major injury" is eligible. A "major injury" is defined as an injury that renders the player unable to practice for at least six weeks from the date of injury.
The player is eligible to return to practice if he has been on reserve/injured for at least six weeks from the date he is placed on the list. He is eligible to return to the active roster after eight weeks.
Video from Sunday's game shows that Lewis was still able to move his right arm up and down after the injury, albeit with pain. He was grimacing on the sideline as his arm was flexed.
"Ray is a warrior," safety Bernard Pollard said. "So I'm not surprised at whatever Ray does."
Teammates expressed their reaction to losing Lewis for the first time Wednesday.
"This is the game," Pollard said. "Injuries are going to happen. We cannot help who they happen to. Guys are going to get dinged up. Guys are going to get beat up. Guys are going to be lost for the season."
"He pretty much made the slogan, 'Play Like A Raven,'" linebacker Albert McClellan added. "We've got to live up to that."